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Beyond Rubik's Cube
March 4, 2009 3:35 PM   Subscribe

No longer an enigma nor a challenge, The Magic Cube a.k.a. Rubik's Cube has been mastered by a many puzzle enthusiasts: two-handed, one-handed, with feet, and heck, even nose!. But despair not! There is a new challenge on the horizon, introducing The PETAMINX! (plus the story behind this insane contraption).
posted by pakoothefakoo (35 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, fond memories of the Rubik's Cube at summer camp in the early '80's. Everyone had one. After countless informal contests a team of "less-than-1-minute solvers" was born. We even came-up with a one-page guide (with illustrations) on how-to solve it. We never did get around to finding a way to publish the guide for a wider audience. Damn Internets didn't exist for the average-Joe back then.
posted by ericb at 3:40 PM on March 4, 2009


Bah, back in my day we had to turn our puzzles through a time dimension.
posted by Pants! at 3:42 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was riding my bike around the other with a guy who was doing the cube as he rode. He finished it in less than 15 minutes I would guess, it was new for me.
posted by headless at 3:46 PM on March 4, 2009


Challenge... pshaw.

When you're ready to play with the big boys...
posted by Joe Beese at 3:46 PM on March 4, 2009


No, no, no! I will not go through this again. Sure, it looks like a challenge, and you think you are ready for it, and suddenly the next thing you know there are chains and hooks and pin headed cenobites trying to pull you apart and teach you about the "pleasures of the flesh".

No more hand held puzzles for me! I'm sticking with trying to translate ancient documents inked in blood.
posted by quin at 3:49 PM on March 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


WHY
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:55 PM on March 4, 2009


WHY NOT
posted by Rinku at 3:57 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


.. the "with feet" one has already been shown to be a trick. it was shot backwards.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:01 PM on March 4, 2009


It says something about my brothers that the first time we had a cube in our house, they immediately took a screwdriver to it so they could prise it apart and rebuild it as 'finished'. I think after a few days of them figuring out how it was meant to be done, I got a chance to play, and it took me ages, but it was fun.

I wonder what the 'puzzle' aspect of it is for the more advanced players? I mean, solving the puzzle once is a great joy, but then the interesting part comes when you start to figure out a process (algorithm? I don't know) which can be applied to any mixed up cube in order to get it solved. After you've worked that out, doing it again and again it kinda boring, even with a more larger (but essentially the same) cube. It's like figuring out towers of Hanoi with nine pieces, and then pointlessly doing it again with 50 pieces. Do the larger cubes, especially the 'petaminx' rely on the same solving process as the small ones?

(Oh, and by the way Arnaud: nice camera work!)
posted by Sova at 4:13 PM on March 4, 2009


I was able, with great difficulty, to make Rubik's Snake look like a dog.
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:32 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


i spent a few hours reading twisty puzzle message boards a few weeks ago, and I don't remember where I got the initial link from. But I remember them talking about a price of several thousand dollars for one of those petaminxes.
posted by empath at 4:40 PM on March 4, 2009


I used mine back in the day to knock large icicles off roofs, much more fun and dangerous.
posted by edgeways at 4:46 PM on March 4, 2009


The Twisty Polyhedra section of Rob's Puzzle Page claims that there are 3.16*10996 possible positions for the Petaminx. Wow. That's compared to just 4.325*1019 for a standard Rubik's cube.

I was never able to solve the Rubik's cube without referring to one of those "solve the cube" books (I had three different books, each giving a different algorithm), but I did manage to solve the Imopssiball entirely on my own, which I was pretty proud of.

Rob's Puzzle Page also offers a fascinating mapping of five different classification schemes used for mechanical puzzles. As for me, I'm mostly interested in disentanglement puzzles these days.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:50 PM on March 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am boycotting this puzzle until he spells "peNtaminx" correctly. Also until I have a hope of solving it.
posted by DU at 4:53 PM on March 4, 2009


The actual petaminx has 10^15 faces. it's composed of 1,000 teraminxes.
posted by GuyZero at 4:59 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


He did spell it right.

It's part of a series: Mega, Giga, Tera, Peta.
posted by empath at 5:01 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh. It's cool, but is it really 3 orders of magnitude cooler than the last one?
posted by GuyZero at 5:04 PM on March 4, 2009


there are 3.16*10^996 possible positions for the Petaminx.

To get some idea of how large a number that is:

Estimates of the matter content of the observable universe indicate that it contains on the order of 10^80 atoms.
posted by empath at 5:04 PM on March 4, 2009


My, it's as easy as πE+996.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:45 PM on March 4, 2009


Magic Cube 5D boggles the mind.... I can't even begin to comprehend it.
posted by pakoothefakoo at 6:12 PM on March 4, 2009


Peta? I hardly know ta!
posted by DU at 6:20 PM on March 4, 2009


Yo man what if our universe was encoded in a pentamix? Wouldn't that be wild? And god was trying to solve it. And as all the faces matched up it would be the heat death of the universe. And god would scramble up all the sides and whisper "let there be light".
posted by I Foody at 7:13 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


or petaminx. whatever.
posted by I Foody at 7:14 PM on March 4, 2009


There's still challenge for people that know how to solve it. There are many, many algorithms you can apply to make specific alterations of the cube (swap this corner with that, rotate the face of these 3 without changing anything else, etc, etc) that you apply to bring the cube to it's "solved" state. As you apply them, they become more complex (read: more to memorize) due to the need of not undoing the solved parts. The challenge comes from learning as many algorithms as you can and learning when to use them so as to finish it more quickly or with less turns. The guides for solving them are generally hand picked algorithms that are easier to memorize (and explain how to use), but are by no means "The" solution.
posted by cj_ at 8:11 PM on March 4, 2009


No longer an enigma nor a challenge...

Wait, what are you... saying? ::sobs::
posted by lunit at 9:16 PM on March 4, 2009


Rubik's Cubes are great fun, I still can't solve one. I love all the variations of the thing, which Wikipedia has, predictably, detailed entries about. Despite my love for the puzzle, I don't think I will ever be in a situation with a Rubik's where I won't want to hurl it across the room after 15 or 20 minutes of complete frustration. Fun times.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:18 PM on March 4, 2009


@ericb : so, uh.. this might bellong to you?
posted by revmitcz at 9:42 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flagged as promising petaminxes but containing not a single naked supermodel protesting fur.
posted by rokusan at 11:01 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the 'puzzle' aspect of it is for the more advanced players? I mean, solving the puzzle once is a great joy, but then the interesting part comes when you start to figure out a process (algorithm? I don't know) which can be applied to any mixed up cube in order to get it solved. After you've worked that out, doing it again and again it kinda boring,...

Clearly, the next step is the design and implementation of your own puzzle solving robot.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:56 PM on March 4, 2009


I think the next step would be implementing a robot that could solve any shape of twist puzzles.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:35 AM on March 5, 2009


bonobothegreat:.. the "with feet" one has already been shown to be a trick. it was shot backwards.


By none other than our own asavage, here.
posted by DreamerFi at 1:08 AM on March 5, 2009


GuyZero writes:
Huh. It's cool, but is it really 3 orders of magnitude cooler than the last one?

A lot more than 3, if you go by the number of possible combos:

Megaminx: 1.0*1068
Gigaminx: 3.65*10263
Teraminx: 1.16*10525
Petaminx: 3.16*10996
posted by otherthings_ at 7:31 AM on March 5, 2009


introducing The PETAMINX!

Like hell! That's the key to my time machine! Give it back!


MetaFilter: Insane contraption.
posted by loquacious at 8:10 AM on March 5, 2009



Like hell! That's the key to my time machine! Give it back!

You mean MY time machine. I bought it from you 20 years from now!
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 AM on March 5, 2009


The making of is kind of fascinating -- seeing the object one sort of naturally wonders. Sometimes technology does rock!
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:38 PM on March 5, 2009


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