There's a new cube in town at the University of Michigan and it's a whopper. Engineering students built a beastly version of the classic Rubik's cube, but it's still totally functional. The cube is made mostly from aluminum and weighs an impressive 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms). It sits suspended at an angle on a specially made stand inside the university's North Campus G.G. Brown Building.
A clever arrangement of rollers and transfer bearings allow a single person to manipulate the cube with ease. There's at least one physically larger Rubik's cube out there in the world, but operating it requires rolling it around on the ground. Mechanical engineering professor Noel Perkins clarifies that Michigan's cube is "the world's largest stationary, human manipulable Rubik's cube."
The cube is the product of three years of design, engineering and building work by a team of students. "The point of making a Rubik's cube so large was primarily to introduce teamwork to the puzzle-solving process," says Martin Harris, a Michigan graduate who now works as an engineer for furniture maker Herman Miller.
The giant Rubik's cube is a triumph of engineering as well as an impressive tribute to a toy that still fascinates and challenges its players.