Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cubing away

For my last birthday I got a brand new V-Cube 7. Yes, I know, it's perhaps a bit nerdy, but it's soooo cool. Where the ordinary Rubik's cube is 3x3x3, this baby is 7x7x7. And where the number of permutations of the 3x3x3 was already staggering (4.33 x 1019 to be precise), the possible states of the V-Cube 7 is an absolutely mind-blowing 1.95 x 10160. That's more than the number of atoms in the visible universe! In fact, if you had one cube for every permutation and were to shrink them all down to the size of atoms, you could fill the visible universe up to 1015 times over. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a lot of permutations.

Apart from these dazzling numbers, it's also quite a beautifully constructed. Have a look at this amazing stop-motion video of its assembly:

And best of all, it's fun to play with. Where I can solve the ordinary Rubik's cube in just under 5 minutes, the V-Cube 7 takes me almost an hour. But today I had an incredible stroke of luck: I managed to solve it in just one minute! Fortunately, I knew beforehand this was going to happen, and I had my camera at the ready:

Okay, so perhaps I cheated a bit. But how?

As some of you already have guessed, I just played the video backward. That way it appears the cube gets solved, where instead it's just getting scrambled. And yes, I got the idea from Michel Gondry.