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The art of making a pig’s ear

Rube Goldberg Machine - Mini Melvin 

Much like Kim Kardashian choosing what to have for breakfast, a Rube Goldberg machine is something that performs a particularly simple task in a very complex fashion.

Think Wallace and Gromit and you get the idea, but Melvin the Mini Machine is much more attuned to the 21st century. Highly portable (well, fitting into two old suitcases), Melvin’s task is to simply put a stamp on a postcard. However, its method is anything but. From step one (all the way to 38), it uses such a random assortment of bits and pieces – such as an alarm clock, a Zippo lighter, and a whole lot of metal balls – you’ll never look at your garage clutter in the same way.

Astoundingly complicated, it’s not without its high-tech gadgets either: it also uses a smartphone (an HTC Desire) and a custom built app to take a picture of wherever it might be and upload it (and its GPS-determined position) to Facebook and Twitter. It hasn’t travelled too far yet, but you can see where it’s been at Melvin the Mini Machine.