The Colorful Conundrum of a Rubik’s Cube

By Lyle Topping
Person doing Rubik's cube

Would you rather spend a year in prison or stay in prison until you finish a Rubik’s cube?

The Rubix’s Cube was invented by Hungarian design teacher and puzzle enthusiast Erno Rubik in 1974. Rubik purposefully set out to design a puzzle based on geometry. The main challenge was the actual mechanics of the cube. How can someone make the 27 tiny cubes called “cubies” rotate and slide? Museum of Play says, “His key insight lay in realizing that if the individual blocks hinged on a rounded core, they could move freely while maintaining the shape of a cube.”

After six short years, Toy & Novelty Company picked up the idea and started putting them on shelves in 1980. According to Museum of Play, “Within two years they bought one hundred million of them, making Rubik’s Cube the title of most popular puzzle in history.

Why you should get a Rubik’s Cube

There are many benefits to solving Rubik’s Cubes. It can help improve memory or improve problem-solving skills, according to Healthline. There is an algorithm that you can follow to help solve the puzzle and memorizing the algorithm and applying it can be beneficial to your muscle memory. Cubelelo says, “Muscle memory has important implications for training strategies. This process creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems.” With each turn and twist of the cube being a calculated move to help solve it, there will eventually be patterns that you notice along the way. “This eventually will help you see patterns that can also improve other aspects of the mind like mathematics, learning a new language, facing a new challenge head-on, etc.,” Cubelelo said.

Types of cubes

There are many different types of variants of the famous cube. The standard and most common is the 3×3. You could get the Pocket Cube which is a smaller and simplified version of the 3×3 because it is a 2×2. For the more intense puzzle solvers you could take a crack at the Dodecahedron. According to Puzzlcrate, “It is a three-dimensional solid with 12 faces, each of which is a regular pentagon. The dodecahedron has 20 vertices and 30 edges, making it a highly symmetrical and stable structure.”

Lastly, for those who see no challenge as too difficult, there’s the Rubik’s Phantom. The cube — to the naked eye — is black. It uses thermochromic technology, only showing the color of each individual cube with the heat of your touch then fading back to black. The competitive side of cubing is something to see. World Cube Association posts lists with competitors, events, and records. These events vary from 2x2x2, 3x3x3, blind- folded 3x3x3, one-handed 3x3x3, and blind-folded 5x5x5, just to name a few. On June 11 at the Pride in Long Beach 2023 event, Max Parks, a 21-year-old U.S. native, solved a 3x3x3 in just 3.13 seconds. Parks beat the previously held record by 0.34 seconds.

If you are interested in trying to take a crack at the cube, here is a link to the algorithm and where to buy one!

Rubik’s Cube, The Original 3×3


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