Video encyclopedia

Mechanical puzzle

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15 puzzle

The 15-puzzle is a sliding puzzle that consists of a frame of numbered square tiles in random order with one tile missing. The puzzle also exists in other sizes, particularly the smaller 8-puzzle. If the size is 3×3 tiles, the puzzle is called the 8-puzzle or 9-puzzle, and if 4×4 tiles, the puzzle is called the 15-puzzle or 16-puzzle named, respectively, for the number of tiles and the number of spaces. The object of the puzzle is to place the tiles in order by making sliding moves that use the empty space.


Puzzle box

A puzzle box is a box that can only be opened by solving a puzzle. Some require only a simple move and others a series of discoveries.


Combination puzzle

A combination puzzle, also known as a sequential move puzzle, is a puzzle which consists of a set of pieces which can be manipulated into different combinations by a group of operations. The puzzle is solved by achieving a particular combination starting from a random (scrambled) combination. Often, the solution is required to be some recognisable pattern such as 'all like colours together' or 'all numbers in order'. The most famous of these puzzles is the original Rubik's Cube, a cubic puzzle in which each of the six faces can be independently rotated. Each of the six faces is a different colour, but each of the nine pieces on a face is identical in colour, in the solved condition. In the unsolved condition colours are distributed amongst the pieces of the cube. Puzzles like the Rubik's Cube which are manipulated by rotating a layer of pieces are popularly called twisty puzzles.



The Skewb is a combination puzzle and a mechanical puzzle in the style of Rubik's Cube. It was invented by Tony Durham and marketed by Uwe Mèffert. Although it is cubical in shape, it differs from Rubik's construction in that its axis of rotation pass through the corners of the cube rather than the centres of the faces. There are four such axes, one for each space diagonal of the cube. As a result, it is a deep-cut puzzle in which each twist affects all six faces.


Void Cube

The Void Cube is a 3-D mechanical puzzle similar to a Rubik's Cube, with the notable difference being that the center pieces are missing, which causes the puzzle to resemble a level 1 Menger sponge. The core used on the Rubik's Cube is also absent, creating holes straight through the cube on all three axes. Due to the restricted volume of the puzzle it employs an entirely different structural mechanism from a regular Rubik's Cube, though the possible moves are the same. The Void Cube was invented by Katsuhiko Okamoto. Gentosha Education, in Japan, holds the license to manufacture Void Cubes.


Alexander's Star

Alexander's Star is a puzzle similar to the Rubik's Cube, in the shape of a great dodecahedron.


Yoshimoto Cube

The Yoshimoto Cube is a polyhedral mechanical puzzle toy invented in 1971 by Naoki Yoshimoto , who discovered that two stellated rhombic dodecahedra could be pieced together into a cube when he was finding different ways he could split a cube equally in half. Yoshimoto first introduced his cube in 1972 at a solo exhibition entitled "From Cube to Space," and later developed three commercial versions. In 1982, Yoshimoto Cube No. 1 was included in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.


Skewb Diamond

The Skewb Diamond is an octahedron-shaped puzzle similar to the Rubik's Cube. It has 14 movable pieces which can be rearranged in a total of 138,240 possible combinations. This puzzle is the dual polyhedron of the Skewb.


Sudoku Cube

The Sudoku Cube or Sudokube is a variation on a Rubik's Cube in which the faces have numbers one to nine on the sides instead of colours. The aim is to solve Sudoku puzzles on one or more of the sides. The toy was created in 2006 by Jay Horowitz in Sebring, Ohio.


Skewb Ultimate

The Skewb Ultimate, originally marketed as Pyraminx Ball is a twelve-sided puzzle derivation of the Skewb, produced by famous toy-maker Uwe Meffert. Most versions of this puzzle are sold with six different colors of stickers attached, with opposite sides of the puzzle having the same color; however, some early versions of the puzzle have a full set of 12 colors.


Equilibrium (puzzle)

Equilibrium, also known as "Equi-librium" is an interlocking puzzle in the shape of a sphere. Copyrighted in 1974 by Reiss Games, Inc., it consists of 6 closed arch pieces, 5 of which have pegs on their straight center. The two pegs block the other pieces from being shifted back or forth, only the sixth piece is different having only one peg and two notches. These notches are above and below where the peg would be located on the other pieces, allowing only this notched piece to be moved at first. When it is moved so the notch fits over another piece's peg, the two pegged piece can be moved. Once a two peg piece has been slid to the side, the notched piece can be moved to its second notch and lifted off. Once the notch piece is removed, all the others become loose and the puzzle usually crumbles into its remaining pieces. The challenge is to put it back together. Equilibrium was sold in a cardboard box, with a solution sheet enclosed."It looks tranquilizing till you take it... apart, that is. But getting this well-designed sphere back together again won't be easy."