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Introducing Engineering Design through an Intelligent Rube Goldberg Implementation


Journal of Technology Studies Volume 36, Number 2, ISSN 1071-6084


Engineering students need a head start on designing a component, a process, or a system early in their educational endeavors, and engineering design topics need to be introduced appropriately without negatively affecting students' motivation for engineering. In ENGR1010 at Robert Morris University, freshmen engineering students are introduced to engineering design theory and practice through fun and challenging Rube Goldberg implementations to give them self-confidence early in their education. This article presents a background on Rube Goldberg mechanisms and their use in engineering education. However, the main focus is given to engineering design and microcontrollers in Rube Goldberg mechanisms. The authors worked with a multidisciplinary group of freshmen software and mechanical engineering students to complete an intelligent Rube Goldberg mechanism to assemble cheese sandwiches. The project was accomplished by using a 10-step design process and generating an automated assembly line with Rube Goldberg contraption elements controlled by a microcontroller. The Robot C programming language was employed for programming. The project details, project evaluation, and student responses are also included in this paper. (Contains 5 figures and 1 table.)


Acharya, S. & Sirinterlikci, A. (2010). Introducing Engineering Design through an Intelligent Rube Goldberg Implementation. Journal of Technology Studies, 36(2), 63-72. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

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