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Magic Cube: A Math Lover’s Rubik’s Cube

Remember the Rubik’s Cube? The Magic Cube builds on that foundation to bring you six mind-bending numerical puzzles.

The original Rubik’s Cube had you arrange all six sides so that they each consisted of squares of the same color. Although the Magic Cube only requires you to solve one side of it, it is a completely different 3D logic puzzle.

Six math-based sequences challenge your puzzle-solving abilities (Credit: Innovation Factory)

Six math-based sequences challenge your puzzle-solving abilities (Credit: Innovation Factory)

Instead of colors, each square of the Magic Cube has a number. Solving the cube requires that you arrange the numbers into one of six sequences of numbers (click on the image above for a larger view of the sequences). These sequences include the triangle series, the sequence of prime numbers, the digits of Pi in order from left to right, the values of a magic square (a Latin square where all directions add up to 15), the Fibonacci series, and the digits of the mathematical constant e (a.k.a., Euler’s number).

As an additional complication to finishing any of these sequences, the digits that appear in each square must appear in the correct orientation. Just because you have the values in the correct order doesn’t mean that you are done. All the numbers have to be right-side up relative to one another too. The result? Accordingly to the puzzle’s inventor, Jonathan Kinlay, the Magic Cube has 3,000 times more possible combinations than a good ol’ Rubik’s Cube.

So, what happens if you get thoroughly frustrated? Well, the folks at the Innovation Factory thought about that too. They will be building an online solver so that you will not have to break apart the cube to “reset” it. Simply enter the numbers and orientations of all the squares in the current state of the cube, which sequence you are trying to solve, and the solver will print out all the steps to get you back on track. I suppose that, rather than follow it all the way through to the solution, you could use the first few instructions as a hint and try to solve it the rest of the way.

As with many new games and gadgets we cover on Aesthetic Crit, the Magic Cube is a Kickstarter project and we learned about it from a submission by Jess Baker at the Innovation Factory. They will be producing the puzzles in plastic, wood, and aluminum to fit a variety of price points. The anodized blue aluminum looks particularly attractive and weighs over two pounds. Wood and plastic versions are, of course, lighter.

The funding period ends on November 1, 2013, so if you are into logic puzzles, Rubik’s Cubes, or math in general, check out the project page for additional information on how it works and what the project entails. If you get one, let us know how long it took you to solve any or all of the sequences.

Comments

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  1. norbert turek says: December 11, 2013

    My 12-year old son was able to finish it in about 3 hours working time (without a picture of what the finished cube looked like). It took him longer than that to solve it the second time. You need to be a Rubik’s adept to start with, or you will have no chance at all.

    • Peter says: December 11, 2013

      @norbert: Thanks for the “in the field” report. I didn’t know that they sold Magic Cubes at Amazon and ThinkGeek after the Kickstarter ended. Looks like they’re sold out now.

    • Joseph Reyes says: December 1, 2015

      This cube is so easy. You have to think of it like a picture cube or a super cube and you will get the cube solved. It took me 1 and a half min because it did not turn very well when I got it.

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