Google is celebrating a geek favorite and a puzzle toy classic with today’s Google Doodle, an interactive Rubik’s Cube to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the twistable plastic block. The doodle, which can be spun and twisted to solve each of the six colored sides, is the latest of Google’s interactive homepage gadgets, which have notably featured a customized Pac-Man game and a Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy control panel
For the cube, it’s a simpler affair, allowing anybody without the toy to try to solve it themselves in as few moves as possible.
The original cube was the handiwork of Ernő Rubik back in 1974. Consisting of six sides of six different colors, each divided into nine individual squares, the puzzle is rotated and twisted so as to try to line up each face properly.
For some, that’s an easy challenge. Others, however, find it almost impossible to do, and the cube came to represent a certain type of logical geek or gaming culture.
Competitive gaming sprang up in the years after Rubik’s invention, with players fighting to see who could finish the puzzle in the shortest time. The current record – aided by specially lubricated “sports” cubes – is just 5.55 seconds.
However, human players have already been eclipsed by their robotic cousins. DIY Rubik’s Cube solving robots have finished the puzzle in 3.253s.