The 30th anniversary of the overly-complicated machine contest is being sponsored by General Mills.

general mills and rube goldberg machine contest
Credit: Courtesy of Rube Goldberg, Inc.

Part of the appeal of having cold cereal for breakfast is the simplicity of its preparation: Unlike making an omelet or even firing up some toast, cereal requires nothing more than pouring from box to bowl… and if you're really up for the challenge, adding some milk. But next year, General Mills wants people to take a different approach to preparing cold cereal for breakfast: make the process as complicated as possible… Rube Goldberg-style. The cereal maker has announced it is the official sponsor of the 2018 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

Since 1988, the contest—which honors Rube Goldberg and his unique cartoons of machines that took relatively simple tasks and made them pointlessly complicated—has given students of all ages and around the globe the chance to create their own real-life Rube Goldberg machines centered on an annual theme. For the contest's 30th anniversary, that theme will be "Pour a Bowl of Cereal" with General Mills stepping in as the very appropriate sponsor.

"'Pour a Bowl of Cereal' is a fun and perfectly Rube-centric task," said Jennifer George, the contest's Legacy Director and Rube Goldberg's daughter, who also pointed out that breakfast-themed machines are a Rube Goldberg staple. "Who better than General Mills to be our national task sponsor? After all, I grew up with General Mills at my breakfast table with their iconic cereal characters and beloved brands…. I can't wait to see this year's winning Rube Goldberg machines pour some of my favorites—from Cheerios to Lucky Charms to Cinnamon Toast Crunch!"

For students interested in entering the 2018 contest, which has divisions all the way up to the college level, registration is already open on the Rube Goldberg website. As for the cereal itself, the contest states, "Any brand and size of cereal may be used in machines for local and regional competitions. However, cereal and cereal boxes will be provided to all participants in the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Finals competition. Participants are required to use the provided cereal and cereal boxes at the Finals event." So if you do enter, you should probably make sure your machine can handle a standard box of Cocoa Puffs.