Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The New and Cool Smart Rubik's Cubes

My 13 year old son Lee is a whiz at just about everything technology related. (I wrote this post without his help, so if I sound like a total ignoramus when it comes to these stuff, its not his fault. I did get his permission to write about him though.) He taught himself how to use photoshop and movie editors and taught himself basic programming to use with arduino boards. He uses Scrap Mechanic and uses logic and basic programming to build things there.  But before he taught himself that, he used Minecraft to build things like basic computers using logic gates and binary (that he taught himself). But if I think about it, his first introduction to concepts used in these skills he has was with Rubik's cubes. At a certain point he was obsessed with Rubik's cubes, and he used algorithms to solve them. I'm pretty convinced that this was the starting point to his understanding and interest in algorithms and logic which led him down the path to his computing skills today.

Rubik's cubes are pretty awesome and cool and a great way to use your brain. Today, though, we have things even cooler than basic Rubik's cubes- there are smart cubes that are essentially Rubik's cubes that contain technology to connect them to an app on your tablet or smartphone. This enables you to have even more options with your cube, and to use screen time in an educational and fun way.

One of my son's favorite things to do after teaching himself to solve a Rubik's cube was to improve his speed in which he solved it. He'd press the timer on his tablet, get solving it, and then press the timer when he stopped. As he practiced he got faster and faster and faster until his hands and the cube were almost moving faster than my eyes could track it. With a smart cube, you don't need a separate timer or waste extra seconds on turning on and off your timer- it does that automatically. 

And once you get better at solving your cube, which the smart cube app teaches you to do, you can compete with other people to see who can do it faster. You can do this either with your friends or connect to other Rubik's cube lovers around the globe. 

Additionally, with a smart cube, you can even use your cube as a controller for other games via the app.

Instead of using smartphones and tablets to zone out watching movies or playing mindless games, try using them with Rubik's cubes as a way to learn algorithms and maybe step into a programming mindset like my son Lee. You never know where these skills may take you someday.

Are you or your kids fans of Rubik's cubes? Have you ever been able to solve them? I still haven't but would love to learn!

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