Santa Monica Pier's Innovation Fair and Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

steam machine 2015

We’re so excited to be working with the Santa Monica Pier and the third annual Innovation Fair and Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. On March 12 at the iconic pier, groups of students representing L.A.U.S.D., SaMo, Venice, Inglewood, Hawthorne and more will show off their Rube Goldberg chain reaction machines.

Rube Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist and inventor whose cartoons inspired the overly engineered, laboriously contrived and often humorous contraptions that perform otherwise simple tasks in a complicated and entertaining fashion. This year’s challenge: open an umbrella in a minimum of 20 chain reactions.

Are you as big of a fan of the OK Go video as we are? A Rube Goldberg machine has the starring role!

Hosted by Heal the Bay, iHeartMedia and Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds, S.T.E.A.M. Machines is a free event open to the public. Starting at 11:30 am on the southeast end of the pier deck, students will present their designs to the judges while interactive stations from exhibitors Kit Hub, Barnes & Noble, reDisocover Center and Columbia Memorial Space Center entertain and educate guests. “Expect robots,” says Doyle.

A panel of innovators includes Diana Skaar, Head of Business Innovation for X (formerly Google X), Kristina Kipp from JPL’s Mars Rover and 18-yr-old LA robotics champ Cynthia Erenas. The panel is hosted by The Tomorrow Show’s Gray Bright and will discuss the challenges of their fields and the opportunities that await. At the conclusion of the panel, the regional qualifier winners will be announced, are awarded cash prizes and advance to the national competition.

The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, Heal the Bay’s marine education facility located at beach-level (just below the Pier’s famous Carousel) invites guests to pilot an underwater ROV mini-sub, invent with snap circuits and explore the touch tanks.

For more information, visit

Search for the official event hashtag #SteamMachines!

-Dan Grody, TGPR