Cool Rubik’s Cube Tricks
The actual challenge of solving the Rubik’s Cube (or the pastime for some), whilst an entertaining and impressive spectacle, is not all that the puzzle has to offer. Whilst most can’t even solve the cube to begin with, there are many more sub-hobbies that were born involving the cube that even less people are able to do, and also some tricks that anyone with a basic knowledge of the cube can do. Here we will take a look at some of these different activities and algorithms that you can learn to manipulate the cube past the simple puzzle that it once was.
Solving the cube in extreme circumstances while jumping out of a plane, underwater, in a burning house or any other situation that makes this task harder has become a trend. Here are a few examples that you shouldn't try at home.
Chris Walker published a video on YouTube in which he solves the Rubik's Cube in freefall. This is one of the situations which really makes you hurry with the solution. Fortunately he managed to complete the puzzle and landed safely. When you try this trick make sure you open your parachute, even if your cube is incomplete.
According to the Guiness World Records the highest number of Rubik's Cubes solved underwater in a single breath is five, achieved by Anthony Brooks (USA). They probably forgot to update this information because in 2015 Kevin Hays solved 8 cubes underwater. This record might be broken someday, but don't hold your breath over it.
16-year-old Owen Farmer solved 117 3x3 cubes riding a unicycle. The achievement not only entered the Guiness Book but also raised money for charity.
An 11 year old member of Football Jugglerz solved the puzzle while bouncing a soccer ball. This trick isn't so dangerous but certainly requires skills.
The logical next step for the Rubik’s Cube to take is towards magic, as most people believe that it is an impossible puzzle that only the most intelligent people are able to complete, so it is already a form of magic for them to see it being solved (especially at the speeds that some hobbyists have been able to achieve). However, some magicians have incorporated Rubik’s Cube style tricks into their routines and other magicians have built their names around them (Steven Brundage, for example, who was able to fool world-famous magicians Penn and Teller on national television using Rubik’s Cube tricks). These tricks range from instant solve tricks to blindfolded solving (although the latter is possible without sleight of hand). You can read more about these tricks and the origins of Rubik’s Cube magic here.
Inspecting the cube then solving it with closed eyes is really impressing, but this skill can be learned. Blindfolded Rubik's Cube solving has become an official competition event for the classic 3x3, the 4x4, the 5x5 cubes and there is multi blind too. Marcin Maskow Kowalczyk spent 32 minutes to memorize 41 Rubik's Cubes, then solved all of them blindfolded in 22 minutes. His record was broken by Shivam Bansal who managed to solve 48 cubes with his eyes closed.
The Rubik’s Cube has been used in a variety of different illusions and eye-tricks over the years. Some of the most popular include anamorphic illusions in which a Rubik’s Cube is drawn in a way that appears skewed and unnatural at first glance, but when it is positioned in the correct perspective or in the case of our first example, the mirror is placed in the correct position, the once distorted art shapeshifts into a normal looking Rubik’s Cube. Some variations of this include the levitating Rubik’s Cube illusion and standard anamorphic Rubik’s Cubes. See if you can make your own versions of these incredible illusions using the videos as references!
The same image viewed from two different perspectives
Another hobby that the Rubik’s Cube has been incorporated into is juggling. Whilst juggling in itself has been a fairly impressive party trick for quite some time, the addition of the equally impressive Rubik’s Cube creates an amazing spectacle. Rubik’s Cubes can be easily juggled in the same way that small balls would be juggled, however some jugglers take this to the next level by solving the cube whilst they are juggling it. In fact, some have even gone as far as to solve 3 different cubes whilst juggling them all. This category also ties in with Rubik’s Cube Magic, as there have been some “faked” juggling videos involving the Rubik’s Cube to trick the viewer into thinking that the juggler has solved the cube(s) that they were juggling using sleight of hand tricks. You can read more about how the Rubik’s Cube has entered the world of juggling here.
Rubik’s Cube Mosaics (Rubikubism)
A spectacle at many speedcubing competitions, mosaics have been made using Rubik’s Cubes in all shapes and sizes, from ceiling-height images of faces to several thousand feet squared mosaics that cover building walls that portray beautiful landscapes. There have even been Rubik’s Cube mosaic competitions as side events at previous WCA competitions, and Rubikubism was formed from these artistic displays and creations using only Rubik’s Cubes and their 6 colours. Read more about Rubik’s Cube Mosaics and see some of these fantastic creations yourself.
Tricks you can do yourself
The majority of these activities and tricks are fairly difficult to do, and some require previous experience of certain activities (or a ridiculous number of Rubik’s Cubes). So instead, here are a few things that anyone can do with just a Rubik’s Cube and a few algorithms
Degree of Permutation
Due to the Rubik’s Cube’s mathematical properties, there are many algorithms that a person can perform that, if performed enough times, will return the cube to its original state. This can be used to fake scrambling of a cube in a pre-memorized orientation for certain magic tricks, or just as a cool trick to scramble and solve a cube in a few seconds. Read more about some of these algorithms and the maths behind them on the link above.
Rubik’s Cube Patterns
Using a few easy-to-learn algorithms, you can create amazing patterns and designs using a Rubik’s Cube or other twisty puzzles. These patterns can be done several times on larger order cubes as well (such as 5x5 or 7x7 cubes) to create even more incredible patterns. These range from the standard checkerboard pattern (where the edges and corners of each face have opposite colours), to the cube-in-a-cube patterns (where the corner sections of a cube appear twisted in place). Read about some of these patterns and learn them yourself and invent new ones.