March 5, 2009 Looks like mobile phones aren’t the only things going touch screen crazy. As a new Rubik’s puzzle gets ready to hit stores an updated version of the classic Rubik’s Cube does away with the manual turning of the cube’s sides in favor of utilizing the very latest in touch and motion technologies, so users swipe a finger across the surface to “turn” a side.
The new Rubik’s TouchCube features touch sensor technology on all six sides, a motion-detecting accelerometer, and colored lights in every square. When a finger is swiped across three squares the lights will follow, “turning” a side of the Cube, while making an “L” shape turns the top face of the Cube a quarter turn. Rubik’s TouchCube’s motion-detecting accelerometer only recognizes moves made on the top side of the Cube, so that a player’s fingers won’t move the lights on other sides when holding it. An internal memory saves the current puzzle while players can also choose between modern or classic sound effects at varying volume levels.
Unlike classic Rubik’s Cubes that tended to find their way into bottom drawers, the Rubik’s TouchCube makes a nice desk ornament, with colors sliding and changing while it recharges in its display stand. The updated TouchCube also features the ultimate cheat for frustrated players - a built-in solver shows how to solve the Cube step by step so players can ask for a hint or watch Rubik’s TouchCube solve itself.
The Rubik’s TouchCube developers, Techno Source, has had engineering teams on two continents working on the device for the last three years, (about half the time it took me to solve the original Cube), and displayed the fruits of their labor at the American International Toy Fair in New York City last month.
The Rubik’s TouchCube, will be in stores in the fall of 2009 and with an expected retail price of around USD$149.99 seems aimed squarely at Rubik’s Cube afficianados.