Google tackles Rubik's Cube with museum partnership

The Internet giant will help bring "Beyond Rubik's Cube" online as lead creative partner for the Liberty Science Center's 2014 exhibit focusing on the famous puzzle.

One part of the Beyond Rubik's Cube exhibit is a 12-foot walk-in structure that reveals the inner workings of a Rubik's Cube.
One part of the Beyond Rubik's Cube exhibit is a 12-foot walk-in structure that reveals the inner workings of a Rubik's Cube. Liberty Science Center

Google has acquired a taste for the museum business, it appears.

It's brought high-resolution reproductions of many works of art online, added museums to Google Maps' Street View, and built an interactive animation Web site called This Exquisite Forest for the Tate Modern in London.

Now it's getting a bit deeper, becoming the "lead creative partner" in a traveling exhibit called "Beyond Rubik's Cube" with the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J.

Word of the project trickled out on Google+ on Rubik's birthday on Saturday. Rubik himself joined Google+ on Thursday.

The large Groovik's Cube can be operated by people at the exhibit or online.
The large Groovik's Cube can be operated by people at the exhibit or online. Liberty Science Center/Michael Holden

"Google's team will extend the exhibition into the digital realm, personalizing the experiences and embedding the exhibition in global social media," according to a description of the exhibit (PDF). That embedding so far has taken the form of a Google+ page for Beyond Rubik's Cube and a YouTube page with a teaser video that arrived Friday night.

The exhibit will open in April 2014, the 40th anniversary of the famous brain-teasing toy created by Hungarian Erno Rubik. It's geared for students, and it's a good match for Google's unabashed nerdiness.

The exhibit will feature a 35-foot illuminated "Groovik's Cube" that can be manipulated by people at the exhibit and online; a prototyping area where visitors can try assembling springs, bungee cords, and dowels into dynamic configurations; a 12-foot working walk-in cube; a puzzle bar with tangrams, towers of Hanoi, and other classic brainteasers; a speed-cubing area where visitors can compete against videos of champion cube solvers. And of course there's an area where people can try to solve Rubik's Cubes.

Update, 2:47 p.m. PT: Adds that it's Rubik's birthday and that he joined Google+.

Rubik's Cube prototypes
Rubik's Cube prototypes Liberty Science Center
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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