Twisting Puzzles
Rubik's 360

Rubik's 360

The Rubik's 360 is a recent addition to the products that carry the Rubik's brand. It consists of two spheres inside a larger sphere. There are coloured balls inside the innermost sphere and both of the inner spheres have a hole in them through which the balls can pass. The outer sphere has little pockets each with a coloured ring matching the colour of one of the balls.There are 2 plastic rings which can be adjusted to cover and uncover the pockets, locking the balls in or out. The puzzle is weighted so that the holes do not naturally line up unless the puzzle is carefully rotated around specific axes.

It is solved with dexterity more than anything else, the aim is to get the coloured balls into the sections marked for that purpose. In the photograph, the blue, yellow, green and white balls are in place, the orange and red ones aren't. It takes a fair old time to get used to how you turn the puzzle and it's hard to explain how you jostle the pieces into position.

If you shake the whole puzzle around in as many directions you can, spin it in the air and generally act like an idiot, the balls eventually emerge from the inner spheres and can be cajoled into their resting places. You will rightly feel slightly ashamed of yourself but you may find, as I did, that you solve it more quickly. You may eventually come to the conclusion that it is absurd for a puzzle to be easier to complete when you treat it with contempt than when you apply yourself to it genuinely.

People approach their puzzles for all sorts of different reasons. I like the fact that if I know or can work out an algorithm to transform a puzzle from one state to another means that I can do that every time I execute the algorithm correctly. If you are going to complete this puzzle, you need steady hand as much as you need a logical mind. You also need an enormous amount of patience and, if the puzzle is not going to be launched at high speed towards a hard surface, you need to be able to forgive yourself every time you nearly get the ball in the hole only to twitch all the way back to inside of the puzzle.