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Competition entry and registration

  • Registrations Open: Monday 22 August 2022
  • Timely Registrations Close: Monday 31 October 2022
  • The contest is only open to  international students living overseas. Australian and New Zealand nationals  and permanent residents are not eligible to participate
  • Teams should consist of a minimum  of 3 and a maximum of 4 members (excluding the Team Supervisor). Team members  must be listed at the time of team registration.
  • Teams can collaborate while physically distanced and make their submissions via a combined video, as detailed below in the ‘Design’ section.
  • Each team must have a staff  member to act as supervisor and contact point for the team. The staff member  details must be provided at the time of registration.
  • Participating teams and their  schools will be listed on the contest website


  • Each team will be required to design an overall machine to achieve the task set by the contest organisers. The overall machine will be composed of multiple smaller machines built by individual team members, as outlined below.
  • Building can commence from the date the task is announced and the machine must complete the task set by the organisers.
  • Each individual machine should be contained within a single room/area
  • Individual machines must have a minimum of 4 unique steps each, there is no maximum number of steps.
  • A “step” is defined as the transfer of energy from one action to another action (eg: a series of dominoes collapsing that then triggers another action is a step).
  • To count as part of the overall machine, individual machines must have an ‘overlapping’ step with an identical transfer of energy (eg: two separate sets of domino lines in succession, with one line triggering the next is considered one-step). This will allow teams to work together without needing to be in the same space/area.
    • 3 team members – 14 steps (2 are shared)
    • 4 members – 19 steps (3 are shared)
    • Shared steps are identical transfers of energy
  • Machines should be designed to run without human intervention or interaction. Human intervention or interaction with the machine is allowed at the start of the first step (i.e. to trigger the first step). After launch, human intervention or interaction with the machine while running (i.e. to fix a problem or reset a step) is permitted, but will attract a small penalty for each interaction.
  • The machine should not represent a safety risk to either its operator or to spectators standing within 1 metre of it. This should be achieved through appropriate safeguards within the design, and the avoidance of dangerous materials or parts as part of the design.
  • The machine should be designed to be repeatable and minimise wastage (eg: do not have a step that involves breaking eggs or spilling liquid that can’t be reused)
  • A maximum of 1 item per individual machine will be permitted to run from electrical power cords.
  • The machine should not contain any:
    • Hazardous materials
    • Explosives
    • Naked flame
    • Live animals
  • As part of their design, teams must submit “Progress Reports” of how the machine works by the appropriate deadlines. This description should be in document format (downloadable on this website) and be submitted to the contest organisers by email along with a link to the video of the machine running (see section below for further details).


Submission of a complete entry  includes:

  • A video of the machine in action (uploaded to  YouTube or an alternative medium).
  • A word document providing a “step-by-step”  description of the machine’s operation. This document must include a detailed  description of each step and should also include a diagram of the steps and the  energy transfers.
  • If a student team has registered themselves via the online form, they must have their designated staff member/supervisor confirm their registration via email within two (2) weeks of their registration date. Any team that does not have a confirmed staff supervisor will be ineligible for the prizes.

Late  submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances.

Video footage

The video footage should run with the following format:

  1. Introduction screen that includes team name and school name (can be the team holding up a poster).
  2. Each individual machine should have the team name appear at sometime in the video (can be written on a piece of paper that is filmed at the same time)
  3. A full run through (a successful run of the machine completing the task).

The purpose of the video footage is to clearly demonstrate the design and operation of the machine. Video footage may be edited, containing different camera angles and shots, and should show as clearly as possible the machine’s various steps, running in sequence from beginning to end. However, the final run though must show the overall machine operation in one, unedited format.

The video must be uploaded to YouTube, or other video sharing site if YouTube is not available in your country, and the link provided to the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology for judging.

Find out more about how to upload a video to YouTube


The contest will be judged by a panel of 3 members from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Melbourne.

Machines will be judged on:

  • Reliability (ability) of the machine to achieve the task with minimal human interaction over multiple runs.
  • Length (the machine should utilize the minimum number of steps outlined above, and less than 2 minutes to achieve the task).
  • Variety in the use of different types of energy transferral (in particular natural and renewable energy sources).
  • Innovative and original use of materials (in particular recycled or re-purposed parts and materials).

The judges’ decision is final and no appeals or protests will be heard.

Winners and prizes

The winning team will be  announced on the contest website. The winning team and  nominated supervisor will also be contacted by the organisers.

This year the winners will receive a custom-made hamper sent to the school! The winning school will also participate in a personalised workshop delivered by University of Melbourne academics.  More detail on this once the winners are announced! There may also be other prizes available for teams as determined by the panel of judges.

Photos and video

Materials supplied by teams as  part of the judging requirements may also be used for future promotional  purposes by the contest organisers. All teams taking part in the contest will  provide their materials on this understanding.