The Rubik’s Cube was invented by Ernő Rubik, a professor in Budapest, who wanted to help his students understand three-dimensional architecture problems. The cube has now grown into a competitive sport and a form of art, with more than 43 quintillion solutions.
Rubik created the first prototype of the cube out of wood in 1974, and it took more than a month for him to solve. He then added 54 colourful stickers to the sides of the cube, making it more noticeable for people. He decided to make the Magic Cube available for anyone who wanted to solve it in Hungary, reported rdnewsNOW.
Rubik took his Magic Cube to International Toy Fairs in 1977, as Communist Hungary had very strict import and export rules. The Magic Cube could be found in London, Paris, and even New York by the following year, as toy specialists stoke a deal with Rubik to commercialise the cube and distribute it worldwide. The only condition for distribution was to change the name, and in 1980, the Rubik’s Cube launched globally.
The new model was designed to be much lighter than the earlier ones, making it easier and quicker to solve.
The average person needs around three hours to solve a Rubik’s Cube the first time, but competitors – so-called Soeedcubers – can take as little as seven seconds. Speedcubing is a sport where participants have to solve the classic 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube in as little time as possible.
The World Cube Association Rubik’s Cube World Championships are held every two years, and thousands of competitors from around the globe travel to try to outrace others. The ultimate winner gets crowned as King or Queen of Cubing.
The first speedcubing World Championship took place in Budapest in 1982, which Minh Thai from the United States won, by solving the cube in only 22.95 seconds. This may not seem as impressive compared to the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to solve a Rubik’s Cube, which is 3.47 seconds, held by the Chinese Yusheng Du.
Ben Katz and Jared DiCarlo created a robot which can solve the cube in under a minute, just 0.38 seconds.
While the traditional speedcubing contest happens using a 3x3x3 cube and two hands, many have tried other ways to make it more difficult, like using one hand only or solving it behind their backs.
A new Netflix documentary, The Speed Cubers, dives into the world of Rubik’s Cube-solving champions Max Park and Feliks Zemdegs.