16 October 2009

Revolution of the Rubik's Cubes

Everything old really is new again. But who could have predicted today's resurgence of the Rubik's Cube? I doubt even ErnoRubik, the dude who invented the "Magic Cube" in 1974, would have. He may have sold over one hundred million of that addictive little bastard by 1982, but the post-Y2K Rubik's Revolution has become a bigger phenomenon than speedcubing. Check it out:
Exhibit A: The Matrix Cube Clock -- Matrix has designed a sweet bedside alarm clock that's surprisingly a lot easier to work than its Rubik's inspiration. The clock's connected by thin ribbon cables and each clock module can be stacked vertically, horizontally, or even in a pyramid. I guess it just depends on your mood. You can find the Matrix Cube over at ThinkGeek.
Another bedside buddy comes as a Rubik's Cube Speaker for the Apple iPod or any MP3 player. Powered with your choice of AC adapter cord or batteries, Megahouse Corp.'s musical cube changes color (red, green, or orange) depending on the tempo of the music you've got cranking. For just $43, it's a neo-retro necessity, and you can find out just how to own it at mobilewhack.
Exhibit B: The Rubik's Cube Table Lamp -- is definitely my favorite, but there's a downside: it's still in development. Still, there's a lot to look forward to with this baby. Created by designer Eric Pautz, the lamp is composed of twenty-six interlocking colored cubes which can be rotated to produce an almost limited array of color combinations. Apparently, the actual number's somewhere around 43 trillion color combinations. (I'm glad I wasn't the one who had to make that count!)
Exhibit C: Rubik's Cube Version 3.0 for PSP -- Last week, video gaming company Exter released v3.0 of their Rubik's Cube game for the PSP platform. They've brought several enhancements to the product, including a new control scheme, new menu, and custom backgrounds and cube skins. PSP-ers can download the new version right here.
Exhibit D: Rubik's Revolution is an official Rubik's Cube game, and should be available for around $20 at most toy and game stores. This cube's different, though - there's no moving segments. Just by touching the glowing central square, players can challenge themselves with up to six different games, including Cube Catcher and Pattern Panic. Sounds like fun.
Exhibit E: The Electronic Rubik's Cube -- is yet another officially licensed Rubik's goodie which hit the shelves back in May. It's a modern makeover that's interesting to watch and to play. There's still no twisting with this gadget game, but a series of buttons can be used to move one or more illuminated colors in the intended direction. This upscaled retro Rubik's tops out at around $43 bucks here.
If you haven't already had too much cube, you can click on over to YouTube. That site's got videos of basically anything conceivable, and Rubik's viral videos are at least that. Start here and try to figure out just why people take the time to make these things in the first place.
Of course, if you do, you'll miss the Best of the Bunch.
Exhibit E: The Best of the Bunch. It's got to be good with a $150 price tag, too. Take a peek at the Rubik's TouchScreen. TouchScreens add a cool factor of ten to any product, and this latest addition to Rubik's High-End just shipped yesterday. It's a great sci-fi gizmo, not to mention an intriguing take on the old twisty cube, too. Instead of turning each face of the colored cube to line up the like colors, a light swipe of the finger is all it takes. Touch sensors detect your finger's pick and a motion detecting accelerometer determines which face of the cube is active, and the colors change based on the direction you swiped.
The TouchScreen also has a built-in memory, so you can calm down and go back to the damn thing later -- just as you used to with the original. Frustrated players can ask the cube to give them "hints" -- which it will -- and if should you get your cube in too much of a jam, it can even solve itself.
The TouchScreen cube comes with a display stand that doubles as its recharging base, a process that takes eight hours and offers one hour of play time. Want to get this gift for someone special? You'll find it right here, abbracadabblers.

No comments: