Rubik's Cube Other names Magic Cube, Speed Cube, Puzzle Cube Type Inventor Company Rubik's Brand Ltd Country Hungary Availability 1977: as Hungarian Magic Cube, first test batches released in Budapest 1980: as Rubik's Cube, worldwide–present Rubik's Cube is a invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture. Originally called the Magic Cube, the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by in 1980 via businessman Tibor Laczi and Seven Towns founder, and won the special award for Best Puzzle that year. As of January 2009, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide making it the world's top-selling puzzle game.
It is widely considered to be the world's best-selling toy. On the original classic Rubik's Cube, each of the six faces was covered by nine stickers, each of one of six solid colours: white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow. The current version of the cube has been updated to coloured plastic panels instead, which prevents peeling and fading. In currently sold models, white is opposite yellow, blue is opposite green, and orange is opposite red, and the red, white and blue are arranged in that order in a clockwise arrangement.
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On early cubes, the position of the colours varied from cube to cube. An internal pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently, thus mixing up the colours. For the puzzle to be solved, each face must be returned to have only one colour. Similar puzzles have now been produced with various numbers of sides, dimensions, and stickers, not all of them by Rubik. Although the Rubik's Cube reached its height of mainstream popularity in the 1980s, it is still widely known and used. Many continue to practice it and similar puzzles: they also compete for the fastest times in various categories.
Since 2003, the, the Rubik's Cube's international governing body, has organised competitions worldwide and recognise world records. See also: 1980s Cube craze After the first batches of Rubik's Cubes were released in May 1980, initial sales were modest, but Ideal began a television advertising campaign in the middle of the year which it supplemented with newspaper adverts. At the end of 1980 Rubik's Cube won a special award, and won similar awards for best toy in the UK, France, and the US. By 1981 Rubik's Cube had become a craze, and it is estimated that in the period from 1980 to 1983 around 200 million Rubik's Cubes were sold worldwide. In March 1981 a championship organised by the was held in, and a Rubik's Cube was depicted on the front cover of that same month. In June 1981 reported that the Rubik's Cube is 'a puzzle that's moving like fast food right now. This year's or ', and by September 1981 noted that the cube had 'captivated the attention of children of ages from 7 to 70 all over the world this summer.'
As most people could only solve one or two sides, numerous books were published including 's Notes on Rubik's 'Magic Cube' (1980) and Patrick Bossert's You Can Do the Cube (1981). At one stage in 1981 three of the top ten best selling books in the US were books on solving the Rubik's Cube, and the best-selling book of 1981 was James G. Nourse's which sold over 6 million copies. In 1981 the in New York exhibited a Rubik's Cube, and at the in a six-foot Cube was put on display.
Even developed a cartoon show called. In June 1982 the took place in, and would become the only competition recognized as official until the championship was revived in 2003. In October 1982 reported that sales had fallen and that 'the craze has died', and by 1983 it was clear that sales had plummeted. However, in some Communist countries, such as China and USSR, the craze had started later and demand was still high because of a shortage of Cubes. 21st-century revival Rubik's Cubes continued to be marketed and sold throughout the 1980s and 90s, but it was not until the early 2000s that interest in the Cube began increasing again.
In the US sales doubled between 2001 and 2003, and remarked that it was 'becoming cool to own a Cube again'. The 2003 World Rubik's Games Championship was the first speedcubing tournament since 1982. It was held in and was attended by 83 participants. The tournament led to the formation of the in 2004. Annual sales of Rubik branded cubes were said to have reached 15 million worldwide in 2008.
Part of the new appeal was ascribed to the advent of Internet video sites, such as YouTube, which allowed fans to share their solving strategies. Following the expiration of Rubik's patent in 2000, other brands of cubes appeared, especially from Chinese companies. Many of these Chinese branded cubes have been engineered for speed and are favoured. Imitations Taking advantage of an initial shortage of Cubes, many imitations and variations appeared, many of which may have violated one or more patents. Today, the patents have expired and many Chinese companies produce copies of, and in nearly all cases, improvements upon, the Rubik and V-Cube designs. Patent history Nichols assigned his patent to his employer Moleculon Research Corp., which sued Ideal in 1982. In 1984, Ideal lost the patent infringement suit and appealed.
In 1986, the appeals court affirmed the judgment that Rubik's 2×2×2 Pocket Cube infringed Nichols's patent, but overturned the judgment on Rubik's 3×3×3 Cube. Even while Rubik's patent application was being processed, Terutoshi Ishigi, a self-taught engineer and ironworks owner near Tokyo, filed for a Japanese patent for a nearly identical mechanism, which was granted in 1976 (Japanese patent publication JP55-008192).
Until 1999, when an amended was enforced, Japan's patent office granted Japanese patents for non-disclosed technology within Japan without requiring worldwide. Hence, Ishigi's patent is generally accepted as an independent reinvention at that time. Rubik applied for more patents in 1980, including another Hungarian patent on 28 October. In the United States, Rubik was granted on 29 March 1983, for the Cube. This patent expired in 2000.
Greek inventor Panagiotis Verdes patented a method of creating cubes beyond the 5×5×5, up to 11×11×11, in 2003. As of 2017, the, and 9×9×9 models are in production in his 'V-Cube' line. V-Cube also produces a 2×2×2, 3×3×3 and a 4×4×4. Trademarks Rubik's Brand Ltd. Also holds the registered trademarks for the word Rubik and Rubik's and for the 2D and 3D visualisations of the puzzle. The trademarks have been upheld by a ruling of the General Court of the European Union on 25 November 2014 in a successful defence against a German toy manufacturer seeking to invalidate them. However, European toy manufacturers are allowed to create differently shaped puzzles that have a similar rotating or twisting functionality of component parts such as for example,.
On 10 November 2016, Rubik's Cube lost a ten-year battle over a key trademark issue. The 's highest court, the ruled that the puzzle's shape was not sufficient to grant it trademark protection.
Solving Rubik's Cube during 1982 expedition in to peak Although there are a significant number of possible permutations for the Rubik's Cube, a number of solutions have been developed which allow solving the cube in well under 100 moves. Many general solutions for the Rubik's Cube have been discovered independently. First published his solution in the book Notes on Rubik's 'Magic Cube' in 1981. This solution involves solving the Cube layer by layer, in which one layer (designated the top) is solved first, followed by the middle layer, and then the final and bottom layer. After sufficient practice, solving the Cube layer by layer can be done in under one minute.
Other general solutions include 'corners first' methods or combinations of several other methods. In 1982, David Singmaster and Alexander Frey hypothesised that the number of moves needed to solve the Rubik's Cube, given an ideal algorithm, might be in 'the low twenties'. In 2007, Daniel Kunkle and Gene Cooperman used computer search methods to demonstrate that any 3×3×3 Rubik's Cube configuration can be solved in 26 moves or fewer. In 2008, Tomas Rokicki lowered that number to 22 moves, and in July 2010, a team of researchers including Rokicki, working with Google, proved the so-called ' to be 20. This is optimal, since there exist some starting positions which require a minimum of 20 moves to solve.
More generally, it has been shown that an n× n× n Rubik's Cube can be solved optimally in moves. Speedcubing methods A solution commonly used by speedcubers was developed.
This method is called standing for 'cross, F2L, OLL, PLL'. It is similar to the layer-by-layer method but employs the use of a large number of algorithms, especially for orienting and permuting the last layer. The cross is done first, followed by first layer corners and second layer edges simultaneously, with each corner paired up with a second-layer edge piece, thus completing the first two layers (F2L). This is then followed by the last layer, then the last layer (OLL and PLL respectively). Requires learning roughly 120 algorithms but allows the Cube to be solved in only 55 moves on average.
A now well-known method was developed. In this method, a 2×2×2 section is solved first, followed by a 2×2×3, and then the incorrect edges are solved using a three-move algorithm, which eliminates the need for a possible 32-move algorithm later. The principle behind this is that in layer-by-layer you must constantly break and fix the first layer; the 2×2×2 and 2×2×3 sections allow three or two layers to be turned without ruining progress. One of the advantages of this method is that it tends to give solutions in fewer moves. The Roux Method, developed by, is similar to the Petrus method in that it relies on block building rather than layers, but derives from corners-first methods. In Roux, a 3×2×1 block is solved, followed by another 3×2×1 on the opposite side.
Next, the corners of the top layer are solved. The cube can then be solved using only moves of the U layer and M slice. Beginners' methods Most beginner solution methods involve solving the cube one layer at a time, using algorithms that preserve what has already been solved. The easiest layer by layer methods require only 3–8 algorithms. In 1981, thirteen-year-old Patrick Bossert developed a solution for solving the cube, along with a graphical notation, designed to be easily understood by novices. It was subsequently published as You Can Do The Cube and became a best-seller. In 1997, Denny Dedmore published a solution described using diagrammatic icons representing the moves to be made, instead of the usual notation.
Philip Marshall's The Ultimate Solution to Rubik's Cube takes a different approach, averaging only 65 twists yet requiring the memorisation of only two algorithms. The cross is solved first, followed by the remaining edges, then five corners, and finally the last three corners.
Rubik's Cube solver program The most move optimal online Rubik's Cube solver programs use which can typically determine a solution of 20 moves or less. The user has to set the colour configuration of the scrambled cube and the program returns the steps required to solve it.
Competitions and records Speedcubing competitions. An 11×11×11 cube There are different variations of Rubik's Cubes with up to thirty-three layers: the 2×2×2 , the standard 3×3×3 cube, the 4×4×4 (/Master Cube), and the 5×5×5 being the most well known. The 17×17×17 'Over The Top' cube (available late 2011) was until December 2017 the largest (and most expensive, costing more than two thousand dollars) commercially sold cube.
A working design for a 22×22×22 cube exists and was demonstrated in January 2016, and a 33x33 in December 2017. Chinese manufacturer ShengShou has been producing cubes in all sizes from 2×2×2 to 10×10×10 (as of late 2013), and have also come out with an 11x11x11. Non-licensed physical cubes as large as 13×13×13 based on the V-Cube patents are commercially available to the mass-market circa 2015 in China; these represent about the limit of practicality for the purpose of 'speed-solving' competitively (as the cubes become increasingly ungainly and solve-times increase quadratically). All five platonic solid versions of Rubik's cube Since 2015, with the mass production of the Icosaix, all five analogous to Rubik's cube (face-turning with cuts one-third from each face, except the Pyraminx, which also has turnable tips) became available. Besides Rubik's cube, the tetrahedron is available as the Pyraminx, the octahedron as the Face Turning Octahedron, the dodecahedron as the Megaminx, and the icosahedron as the Icosaix.
Some puzzles have also been created in the shape of the, such as (a ). Custom-built puzzles.
Novelty keychain Puzzles have been built resembling the Rubik's Cube or based on its inner workings. For example, a cuboid is a puzzle based on the Rubik's Cube, but with different functional dimensions, such as 2×2×4, 2×3×4, and 3×3×5. Many cuboids are based on 4×4×4 or 5×5×5 mechanisms, via building plastic extensions or by directly modifying the mechanism itself. Some custom puzzles are not derived from any existing mechanism, such as the Gigaminx v1.5-v2, Bevel Cube, SuperX, Toru, Rua, and 1×2×3. These puzzles usually have a set of masters 3D printed, which then are copied using moulding and casting techniques to create the final puzzle. Other Rubik's Cube modifications include cubes that have been extended or truncated to form a new shape.
An example of this is the Trabjer's Octahedron, which can be built by truncating and extending portions of a regular 3×3. Most shape mods can be adapted to higher-order cubes.
In the case of Rhombic Dodecahedron, there are 3×3, 4×4, 5×5, and 6×6 versions of the puzzle. Rubik's Cube software Puzzles like the Rubik's Cube can be simulated by computer software, which provide functions such as recording of player metrics, storing scrambled Cube positions, conducting online competitions, analysing of move sequences, and converting between different move notations. Software can also simulate very large puzzles that are impractical to build, such as 100×100×100 and 1,000×1,000×1,000 cubes, as well as virtual puzzles that cannot be physically built, such as 4- and 5-dimensional analogues of the cube.