The inventor of Rubik’s Cube is finally back with his first new toy puzzle for almost 20 years and early indications are that it is going to be every bit as difficult (and irritating) as the original cube!
Rubik’s 360 features six balls inside three interlocking spheres. The task is to lock each ball into colour-coded capsules on the outermost sphere. Inventor professor Rubik said of his cube that it was 'easy to understand the task, but hard to work out the solution'. It is just as aggravating to crack the 360.
The puzzle involves changing the position of six balls, each a different color, in a central sphere to six compartments in the outer sphere. This is done by shaking them through a middle sphere that only has two holes. There are three spheres that make up the puzzle. Unlike the original Rubik's Cube, there seem to be no algorithms and, in general, less mathematics associated with this puzzle. In addition there is a factor of manual dexterity involved in the solution, that was unnecessary with the original cube.
Like the Rubik's Cube, the Rubik's 360 has only one solution, but you cannot break it up to solve it. It is suitable for all ages and according to first views it is very addictive and engaging.
Professor Rubik was a 30-year-old lecturer in the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest when he devised the cube in 1974 to teach his students about 3D design. It took six years for it to leave the Eastern bloc, when it became an instant hit, selling in the tens of millions and permeating almost every home in Britain.
In a classic Rubik's Cube, each of the six faces is covered by 9 stickers, among six solid colours (traditionally white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow). A pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently, thus mixing up the colours. For the puzzle to be solved, each face must be a solid colour. Similar puzzles have now been produced with various numbers of stickers, not all of them by Rubik. The original 3×3×3 version celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2005.