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


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.









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