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The world’s largest free standing Rubik’s Cube

19 April 2017

A giant Rubik’s Cube has been installed at the University of Michigan and is believed to be the world’s largest hand-solvable, stationary version of the puzzle.

A giant Rubik’s Cube has been installed at the University of Michigan (Credit: University of Michigan)

The 680kg cube was designed and built by two teams of mechanical engineering students over the course of three years.

"This is a truly amazing and unique kinematic mechanism that functions as a Rubik's cube," said Noel Perkins, the Donald T. Greenwood Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and adviser to the students.

"There is no other human-manipulable cube like this, to the best of our knowledge. That said, it is not technically the largest cube. We're aware of a larger cube that requires the user to literally roll it on the ground to solve and rotate the faces. None of that is required by our stationary design. So to be very precise, it is the world's largest stationary, human manipulable Rubik's cube."

The students worked hard to find a movement mechanism that enables the cube to be touched and solved. They realised they simply couldn’t scale up the approach used on the handheld puzzle because the friction would be too great. To keep friction to a minimum, they devised a setup that utilises rollers and transfer bearings.  

Video courtesy of Michigan Engineering.

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