Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 15 News List

The 12-sided Megaminx is really something to puzzle over 十二面空心 最難魔術方塊亮相

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For the fastest puzzle fans, the traditional three-layered, six-sided Rubik’s Cube is not enough — they can solve it in 20 seconds. But when the newest hollow 12-sided puzzle was introduced to Taiwan recently, players spent 18 minutes to solve it.

It is almost 40 years since the first puzzle cube was invented, and the one everyone knows is the three-layered Rubik’s Cube successfully marketed by the Hungarian professor of architecture Erno Rubik in 1977. However, the world’s first such puzzle was a magic pyramid invented in 1970 by the German scientist Uwe Meffert. It hit markets in 1978, selling more than 90 million units that year. To date, more than 160 million have been sold.

Meffert recently brought his latest invention, the hollow 12-sided puzzle, to Taiwan. This innovative hollow puzzle makes it possible to see straight through the puzzle, and by increasing the number of sides from six to 12, the difficulty is increased further.

Kuo Chun-yi, a magic puzzle wizard who is an assistant professor in the mathematics department at National Taiwan Normal University, says the increase from six to 12 sides increases the variations so that more time is required to solve the puzzle, while the hollow design deprives the user of the possibility to use the colors as a criterion for judging progress, which means that the slightest lapse in concentration leads to confusion as soon as the puzzle is turned.

Two magic puzzle wizards who took the new invention for a spin at the event required 18 minutes to solve it. Kuo, who has been playing with magic puzzles for 10 years says that normal people might not even solve it in an hour or two. He said that if he played around with it a few more times, he might be able to get down to between five and 10 minutes, so considering that he solves the standard six-sided magic cube in 20 seconds, it is easy to see that the 12-sided puzzle is quite complicated.

There were also egg-shaped puzzles at the event, whetting the curiosity of visitors. Kuo, who has more than 70 magic puzzles in pyramid and other shapes said the egg-shaped design made it even more likely that the user would confuse directions, but because it is built on the traditional three-layered, six-sided principle, he could probably solve it in just two minutes.

(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY PERRY SVENSSON)

六面正方型的傳統三階魔術方塊不夠看,高手只要二十秒就可破解。最新的空心十二星型錐體魔術方塊日前在台首度亮相,玩家第一次接觸,花十八分鐘才完成。

魔術方塊問世已近四十年,大家最熟悉的是由匈牙利建築系教授魯比克所發行的三階魔術方塊,一九七七年上市即造成熱銷。而世界上最早出現的是一九七0年由德國科學家烏維•麥菲特發明的魔術方塊金字塔,一九七八年上市,該年就創下九千多萬顆銷售量,至今全球賣出一億六千多萬顆。

麥菲特日前帶著他的最新發明「空心十二星型錐體魔術方塊」來台,他的新創舉是將魔術方塊設計成空心,可以看穿整顆方塊,再搭配由六面增為十二面,讓破解難度更高。

當日獲邀示範的魔術方塊達人、師大數學系助理教授郭君逸說,六面增為十二面本來就會讓變化型態增加,得花更多時間操作破解,空心的設計則會讓使用者失去判斷顏色的基準,稍不注意、一翻面就搞混了。

現場兩位魔術方塊達人初體驗,花了十八分鐘才破解。玩魔術方塊已有十年的郭君逸說,一般人可能玩上一、兩個小時都無解,他在多玩幾次後,大概五到十分鐘就可完成,但像傳統三階魔術方塊,他只要花二十秒,可見空心十二星難度確實很高。

現場另有蛋型魔術方塊,也讓民眾好奇。擁有金字塔、粽子等七十多種魔術方塊的郭君逸指出,蛋型因彎面設計,更容易讓人搞混面向,但因仍是傳統三階六面的原理,他大概只要兩分鐘就可破解。(自由時報記者李文儀)

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