The Rubik’s Cube is 40 years old today, and to celebrate, Google has created a Google Doodle that presents an interactive virtual version of the much-loved puzzle toy.
Erno Rubik invented the 3×3×3 cube in the spring of 1974, although it wasn’t released globally until 1980. The Hungarian architect hand-crafted the prototype and set about trying to find the solution, which he surmised could take a lifetime if each element was just rotated randomly.
It took him a month, and he realized that this could be a clever puzzle for the mass market. By January 2009, more than 350 million Rubik’s Cubes had been sold worldwide. More recent figures are not available, but considering that was more than five years ago, you can bet that figure has risen significantly.
The cube itself has become an iconic object, appearing in many forms and on many designs. UK gadget retailer Firebox sells, for example, a Rubik’s Cube bedside lamp that can actually be played like the original toy.
Speedcubers also meet often at events to show how fast they can complete a scrambled cube. The current human record holder is Mats Valk from the Netherlands, who can finish a randomly mixed 3×3×3 cube in just 5.55 seconds.
That was beaten by a dedicated cube-solving robot recently, the CubeStormer 3 built using a Samsung Galaxy S4 and Legos, which posted a time of 3.253 seconds during the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, UK, in March.
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