memory improvement with Tony Buzan

A Brief History of the Rubik’s Cube and its Variants

The Rubik’s Cube, a 3x3x3 mechanical puzzle modeled in the shape of a cube, has been a popular toy and one of the most widely used brain games for the past 40 years. The cube-shaped toy made out of plastic now also has a variety of other versions with both fewer and more squares, the most popular of them being the 2x2x2 “Pocket Cube”, the 4x4x4 “Rubik’s Revenge” and the 5x5x5 “Professor’s Cube”.

Early Origins of the Rubik’s Cube

Amazon ImageActually the Rubik’s Cube didn’t start out as the “Rubik’s Cube”. In 1974, Emo Rubik, a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture at the Budapest College of Applied Arts, invented the first “Magic Cube” and acquired a Hungarian patent for it in 1975 and the product was released to Hungarian toy stores two years later, in 1977.

It wasn’t until Ideal Toys decided briefly to halt production of the Magic Cube in order to modify it to meet Western safety and packaging specifications that the Cube as we now know it was really born. After having been updated to be made out of lighter, sturdier materials the Magic Cube was rebranded as the “Rubik’s Cube” and was first exported to the Western world in May 1980.

The Rubik’s Cube Early Popularity

Between the years of 1980 and 1982, sales of Rubik’s Cubes numbered over one hundred million worldwide. It won the BATR “Toy of the Year” award in the two consecutive years of 1980 and 1981 and following on to the massive success of this first 3x3x3 version many other variants were then produced.

Ever More Complex Variations

Amazon ImageOne such variation is the Rubik’s Revenge, also commonly known as the “Master Cube”, which has six faces each with 4×4 squares. Originally this version of the Rubik’s cube was patented by Peter Sebesteny on December 20, 1983. It was meant to be named the “Sebesteny Cube”, but the name was changed to the “Rubik’s Revenge” in order to attract further sales from people who already had fallen in love with this challenging and easily portable brain game.

Amazon ImageA further evolution of the Rubik’s Cube is the 5x5x5 “Professor Cube” initially designed by Udo Krell. Both the Rubik’s Revenge and the Professor Cube were, however, of considerably flimsier design than the initial Rubik’s Cube. This made ‘speed cutting’, solving a Rubik’s puzzle while timed, almost impossible to do. It was when Panagiotis Verdes, a Greek inventor, developed his remarkable V-CUBE™ technology that significant improvements could made in the engineering of the 5x5x5 cubes, with a sturdier construction and allowing for speed cutting, and this technology has been applied to larger versions such as the 6x6x6, the 7x7x7 and right up to 11x11x11 cubes.

The ideas behind 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube toy has now moved on to include massively more complex versions and will no doubt continue to challenge the brains of inventors as well as those who address their minds to solving these puzzles at ever-increasing speeds.

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