Posted by: Jack | September 25, 2007

SudoKube

While driving home from Portland this evening I had a great idea for a toy/game. Since sudoku puzzles are the latest craze, pretty much anything with sudoku in the name seems to sell. As a fan, and moderately speedy solver, of the Rubik’s Cube, I made the simple connection between the 3×3 faces of the cube and the 3×3 sectors of a sodoku puzzle. In theory, a cube could be labeled with numbers rather than colors and the numbers could be arranged such that each face is “solved” in the way that a sodoku sector is solved and similarly, the whole cube could be considered “solved” when any set of three aligned faces in a row are “solved” in the manner that three sectors of a sodoku puzzle are solved.

One fault of this puzzle would be the static solution. Since the numbers must remain affixed to their original pieces of the cube, the solution would have to be the same every time. This also means that after you solve it one or two times, it would be easy to remember parts of the arrangement such as which corner pieces go where.

So to further the replay-ability of the game I theorized a USB SudoKube where each square on each face has a small LCD screen — a cheap one like you find on a digital watch — which can display a single digit (1-9). A female port could easily be installed on a central square since they are permanently affixed to the core of the cube as well as every other central square. Varying arrangements could then be downloaded from supplying sites and uploaded to the cube. As merely a set of 53 short integers, a tiny amount of internal memory could easily store endless quantities of puzzles (approximately forty puzzles per KB, or to use the layperson’s standard measure of memory: the space required to store one typical mp3 file could store 120,000 puzzle variations) which could be scrolled through or randomly selected with small buttons on the cube. Like digital watches, this cube could run on a tiny battery which would last for years without replacing. One big problem would be installing electronic connections among the LCD screens while maintaining the highly mobile mechanics of a Rubik’s Cube.

When I got home, my excitement for this product was cut short when I found that someone has already produced and begun selling the Sudoku Cube. However, the currently available version only allows for a solve such that each face is solved in itself but has no relation to the other faces. Reviews of the product point out the easy re-solve-ability that I postulated above so my improved version may still have some worth.

Now I just need the plastics molding tools, technical electronic knowledge and motivation to create a prototype. If you have read this and think it’s a great idea which you plan to steal, shame on you. At least give me a percentage of the revenue.

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