America’s Got Talent recently featured St. Olaf College Associate Professor of Physics Jason Engbrecht and alumni Bryce Danielson ’11 and Christian Weeks ’13 for their knack for thinking outside the box.
The three appeared on the popular NBC television show with their creatively contrived Rube Goldberg machine, dubbed “Hamster Wheel.” It delighted host Tyra Banks and judges Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandell — not to mention the audience.
The size of a Rube Goldberg Machine can be anywhere from small to very large, demanding up to thousands of hours to complete. Though meant to perform simple tasks, these machines are nothing short of amazing. The 300 hours required to build the “Hamster Wheel” paid off with smiles from the audience and judges.
Engbrecht, a driving force behind St. Olaf’s involvement with Rube Goldberg Machines — which includes winning the 2009 National Rube Goldberg Machine Competition and taking part in national collegiate competitions for three consecutive years — has also built machines for advertising projects for Target and 3M. The three also recently appeared on a Japanese game show to compete with a Rube Goldberg machine they designed.
Watch them describe their experience on America’s Got Talent in this Kare 11 News interview.