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Sign Of The Times: A Rube Goldberg Machine That Tweets [Video]

Well, this was inevitable.

So it has come to this: Even our Rube Goldberg machines, those monuments to inefficiency, are exploiting social media, today’s monuments to efficiency.

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Melvin the Machine is a Rube Goldberg machine that does what all Rube Goldbergs do: perform simple tasks as extravagantly as possible. But he’s got a loftier goal in life: shameless self-promotion. So when he does a live show — popping balloons and smashing porcelain hippos and lighting stuff on fire — he snaps photos and shoots video of his audience, then posts everything online. He has more than 400 friends on Facebook. Naturally, he tweets, too. (Oct. 31: ?I made a picture?; Oct. 31: “I made a picture?; Oct. 31: “I made a video.?)

[Fun design factoid: The film was shot in the De Ploeg, a beautiful old factory designed by Gerrit Rietveld.]

A mindless machine — seemingly complex, but ultimately unburdened by any substance — who manipulates the levers of modern communication in the name of self-invention? Melvin just might be the ultimate 21st-century celebrity.

Melvin the Machine was developed by the Dutch design studio HEYHEYHEY. More info here.

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About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D

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