Students Design Their Own Rubik’s Cube Version

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. conceptualize / kənˈsɛp tʃu əˌlaɪz / (v) – to form an idea in your mind

    It took the writer only a few hours to conceptualize a story for her novel.

  2. stationary / ˈsteɪ ʃəˌnɛr I / (adj) – cannot be moved

    All of the tables in the restaurant are stationary.

  3. unveil / ʌnˈveɪl / (v) – to show something to the public for the first time

    The company will unveil its new products tomorrow.

  4. maneuver / məˈnu vər / (v) – to move something in a careful and skillful way

    The driver maneuvered the bus carefully through the rocky road.

  5. facilitator / fəˈsɪl ɪˌteɪ tər / (n) – someone who leads a program, discussion, etc.

    The facilitators of the seminar were very good speakers.


Read the text below.

Students from the University of Michigan have created their own version of the Rubik’s Cube, a popular puzzle invented by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik.

Four mechanical engineering students originally conceptualized and started the project in 2014. When they graduated in 2016, they asked a group of three students to finish the project. The giant stationary cube was finally unveiled this year at one of the school’s buildings. It took a total of three years to finish.

The giant cube weighs 2,400 pounds. Because of its weight, one challenge that the students faced was making the cube’s individual parts move smoothly.  Their solution was to use a network of rollers and transfer bearings that let the individual parts slide across one another.

One of the creators explained that they attached the giant Rubik’s Cube to a stand so people can maneuver and solve it without too much effort. The team’s goal in creating a giant cube is to encourage teamwork when it comes to problem-solving.

On the other hand, another group of students also experienced creating their own versions of the cube. In a program offered by Johnson College, Pennsylvania, a fifth grade class from another school was taught how to design the cube through a software called Tinkercad. According to one of the college’s personnel, the program aims to show students the fun in math and science. The program’s facilitators will choose six of the best designs from the students and turn them into actual toys using 3D printers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you like to try solving the huge Rubik’s Cube? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, can the giant Rubik’s Cube really promote teamwork? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What things should be considered when designing toys?
• Is it a good idea to involve children in designing toys? Why or why not?