Role of Larry Nichols ’58 in Inventing Famous Toy is Recalled

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“Rubik was not the first to develop his unique and complex cube with the many colors on each side,” notes a column in Ohio’s Fairborn Daily Herald. “A man originally from Xenia, Larry Nichols developed a similar game before Rubik’s Cube appeared on the market.”

Joan Baxter points out that Nichols received a degree in chemistry in 1958 from DePauw University, where he was a Rector Scholar, and went on to earn a doctorate at Harvard. “As a Harvard student, he invented and produced about ten different games and puzzles, this was quite a pastime for him. He went on to become the chief scientist for Moleculon Research Corporation of Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of the primary products of Moleculon is Poroplastic, which was invented by Dr. Nichols in 1973. Poroplastic film has the mechanical properties of a typical plastic, but is able to hold large quantities of almost any liquid within its tiny pores. Current usage of Poroplastic materials centers on controlled drug delivery and environmental health and safety products. He has invented several other products for his company as well.”

Baxter writes that Nichols also enjoyed making toys, and “began to experiment with small wooden cubes, magnets, pieces of metal and scrap materials. This was the beginning of a cube which would move in many different ways. He thought this particular puzzle might have some value on the market, so he showed the invention to his boss. His boss liked it and offered to submit the idea to the Ideal Toy Company, on condition of sharing the profits from the sale of this clever device. The company applied for and in 1972 received Patent No. 3,655,201 from the U. S. Patent Office. The clever cube design was then offered to the Ideal Toy Company, but the company expressed no interest in such a puzzle. A couple of years later, Rubik’s Cube hit the shelves! You can imagine the dismay of the original inventor when the toy arrived on the market. His invention had been marketed by another inventor. At first, he was amused that someone else had come up with the same puzzle. He was certain that Rubik had not stolen his idea, but had come up with the idea for the puzzle independently.”

The newspaper piece goes on to note that a patent infringement lawsuit resulted, and led to settlement for Ideal and Dr. Nichols.

“Designing puzzles and games became a lifelong hobby for Larry Nichols. One of the games he produced was called ‘Leapin’ Lizzards’. It is a clever game and easily played, manufacture by the Binary Art Company.”

Access the complete text — “The history of the Rubik’s Cube” — at the Daily Herald’s website. You’re also invited to visit Dr. Nichols’ website.

Hungary honours Nobel laureate, Rubik’s cube inventor

Budapest, Aug 20 (IANS): Hungarian President Janos Ader presented Nobel laureate author Imre Kertesz and inventor Erno Rubik with the Order of Saint Stephen, Hungary’s highest award, Wednesday.

The award marks the country’s most important national holiday, Saint Stephen’s Day. Saint Stephen or Stephen I was the founder king of Hungary and reigned from 1000 to 1038 A.D.

Kertesz won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002 “for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history”, the Nobel Committee wrote. Kertesz, a Jew, was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp at age 14. His writing reflects that experience.

Ader said Kertesz deserved this award for his complete oeuvre, which fully describes what dictatorships do to the human soul, Xinhua reported. He particularly thanked Kertesz for his daring and honesty as a writer.

Rubik is an inventor, architect and professor of architecture, best known internationally for inventing mechanical puzzles including Rubik’s Cube, which was originally designed as a teaching aid. His recent work has been focused on promoting science in education.

Presenting the award, Ader called the cube an ingenious invention, so quirky and enchanting that a Hungarian mindset was needed to come up with it.

The Order of Saint Stephen is granted in recognition of exceptionally outstanding contributions in supporting Hungary, extraordinary oeuvres and significant international achievement.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Speaker of Parliament Laszlo Kover were also present at the awards ceremony.

Source: Daiji World

Rubik’s Cube Fridge at ThinkGeek

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It certainly isn’t going to keep your big supermarket shop cool, but that’s not stopping us admiring this Rubik’s Cube Fridge at ThinkGeek.

It’s an exclusive at that particular retailer, offering to keep smaller items cool or warm (depending on the setting you choose), but not able to twist and turn like the real thing. That would have been just too good. It’ll add a certain something to a room though, even if it’s just a talking point.

The fried is officially licensed and works via mains or with a DC power cord for use on the go (in the car, for example). It sells for $149.99 (around £88).

Find out more

Rubik’s cube lamp

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Back in 2009 we saw a concept for a Rubik’s Cube lamp that can be made to change the color of its light by moving its faces around. The recently released official Rubik’s Cube lamp shines only white light, but you can actually rotate its faces and solve it if you want. “And that’s a big if,” said a billion forgotten Rubik’s Cubes stashed in drawers and attics all over the world.

The lamp has a battery that lasts up to 2 hours per charge so you can play it while it’s lit up. It also comes with a display stand that doubles as a USB charging dock.

This Rubik’s Cube-Like Device Will Help You Never Miss a Notification

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Sometimes, putting your phone on silent means you can easily miss a call, text, or other important message. Sure, there’s the vibrate function but even that’s easy to miss at times. LEDmeKnow aims to stop that problem by ensuring you can take a glance at it and know exactly who’s trying to reach you.

It’s a form of smart lightbox that offers up a series of squares, each representing a different person, group of people, type of contact, or app. Looking kind of like a Rubik’s Cube, it means you can take a glance at the lights and know exactly what’s going on. The device works for any app possible meaning there’s plenty of flexibility. Just think how it would help when tracking calls, emails, texts, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, and many more. It could be particularly handy after leaving your phone on silent overnight and wanting to check at a glance if you’ve missed anything.

Sometimes, putting your phone on silent means you can easily miss a call, text, or other important message. Sure, there’s the vibrate function but even that’s easy to miss at times. LEDmeKnow aims to stop that problem by ensuring you can take a glance at it and know exactly who’s trying to reach you.

It’s a form of smart lightbox that offers up a series of squares, each representing a different person, group of people, type of contact, or app. Looking kind of like a Rubik’s Cube, it means you can take a glance at the lights and know exactly what’s going on. The device works for any app possible meaning there’s plenty of flexibility. Just think how it would help when tracking calls, emails, texts, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, and many more. It could be particularly handy after leaving your phone on silent overnight and wanting to check at a glance if you’ve missed anything.

LEDmeKnow can display up to nine different events simultaneously, using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy Protocol to ensure it only needs to be charged once a month.

The device is currently available via a Kickstarter campaign. Pledges that involve receiving a LEDmeKnow start at $60 for one with two LEDmeKnows available for $115. The latter combination being ideal for both your home and workplace set up.

The Kickstarter campaign has until July 25 to run so get in there quickly.

Read more at PasteMagazine