The Society of Model and Experimental Engineers have issued their Low Energy Challenge, SMEELEC. The requirement is that you use a low energy supply to store up energy then release it to raise a weight as fast as possible. There is an electric challenge (button cell) and a thermal challenge (candle powered). The idea sounds simple but the entrants will have to produce an efficient and powerful machine to win. Slightly above my level of skill at the moment but it will be fun to go and watch.
The competition will be run at the Model Engieering Exhibition this September at Ascot race course. Details of the competetition and entry forms can be found on the SMEE website. http://www.sm-ee.co.uk/
On a less serious note, students from Purdue University’s Society of Professional Engineers won the 2008 Rube Goldberg contest with a device that requires 156 to assemble a hamburger. Rube Goldberg is the USA’s equivalent to Heath Robinson.