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SYFY WIRE magnetic fields

This levitating, self-solving Rubik’s Cube doesn’t need people — or gravity

By Benjamin Bullard
Rubiks Cube

Years and years after we’d already given up on ever becoming the kind of commonplace brainiacs who can solve a lowly puzzle like the Rubik’s Cube, along came the self-solving version in 2018, just to freshen up our half-forgotten, long-repressed sense of failure.

Well, the self-solving Rubik’s Cube 2.0 is now here to revive our self-loathing all over again, and this time it just feels downright mean. Not only can this new version do everything the old one can; it can do it while literally levitating in space! And beyond having a human hand to scramble it and place the geometric brain-teaser over its conductive field, it doesn’t need people at all.

The magic self-resolving puzzle comes courtesy of Japanese YouTuber Human Controller, who first introduced the world to the gravity-bound version late last year. To create a cube that can self-align all 54 of those little colored squares into nice, neat rows, the original cube used a 3D-printed, motor-driven mechanism tucked out of sight in the puzzle’s core. 

The new, improved levitating cube retains that mechanism, but adds magnets inside the block that repel their polar complements, hidden away inside the magnetic base below. Once the cube’s been scrambled and lightly balanced above the base, all that’s left is to sit back and watch as the servos and magnets work their mesmerizing magic.

As games intended to occupy and challenge humans go, this may be the first that completely transcends its original reason to exist in the first place. It’s almost ontologically perfect — a puzzle that can solve itself, with no people required, and look mind-bendingly cool while doing it.