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Who Knew Popping a Balloon Could Be So Complex? Machine Sets Record With 300-Step Process

We’ve already shown you the monster-catching Rube Goldberg machine built by a 7-year-old boy genius. Now, we’re bringing you the most complex Rube Goldberg machine ever.

It’s a machine so complex, it has won a world record for the number of steps it takes to successfully complete an otherwise simple job. The task: inflate and pop a balloon.

While you may think, inflating and popping a balloon should be as easy as 1) blow up balloon, 2) tie off balloon to trap air, 3) obtain a pin and 4) insert pin into balloon, the team at Purdue University is showing us it can take 300 steps to perform this simple task.

The point of a Rube Goldberg machine is to take a relatively simple task and make it unnecessarily complex. The concept for these machines was created by its namesake, Rube Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, sculptor and author who died in 1970.

Check out the 300-step balloon popping contraption:

With this machine, the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers broke its own previous record with the World Records Academy. Last year, it created a 244-step machine to water a plant. With that number of steps it earned a Guinness World Record.

Purdue only came in second overall in this year's 25th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, did it win the People’s Choice Award. According to the World Records Academy, the PSPE team spent more than 5,000 hours designing and constructing the machine. It states that the machine included an element from every task that was ever assigned for the contest, which included “peeling an apple, juicing an orange, toasting bread, making a hamburger, changing a light bulb, loading a CD and sharpening a pencil.” It is fitting the name for this Rube Goldberg machine was “Rubes Revisited.”

Here's how the machine works -- in a relatively small space -- in pictures:

While the balloon-popping machine may have won a world record, top honors for the contest as a whole went to St. Olaf College for its “end-of-the-world”-themed machine, which inflated and popped the balloon in 191steps.

The 2013 task is hammering a nail. May the most complex machine win.

[H/T io9]

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