Title:
Self-interlocking cubic puzzle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a spatial logical cubic toy having a total of twenty-four identical toy elements mounted in a self-interlocking manner together with eight identical tetrahedral elements and a central solid core element. The eight exterior right-triangular surfaces of the twenty-four toy elements comprise one surface of the cube. The toy elements rotate and translate about a total of eleven axes, among which eight of the axes are collinear with the diagonals of the cube, and the remaining three axes are mutually perpendicular and normal to the face of the cube and passing through the center of the cubic toy. In a preferred embodiment, the eight exterior triangular surfaces of the toy elements forming a face of the cube are colored by a single color. Six different colors can be chosen for the six faces of the cube. The toy elements can be randomly rotated and translated about the eleven axes resulting in a mixture of all the six colors on the faces of the cube. The object of the puzzle is to rotate and translate the toy elements about the eleven axes to obtain the original position wherein each face of the assembled cube will be of a single color resulting in six different colors for the six faces of the cube. The simplicity provided by self-interlocking elements disclosed here, without any screws nuts bolts or springs facilitate ease of manufacture and assembly of the puzzle described here. Press fitting all the elements described here can easily assemble the puzzle, thus reducing the cost of assembly.



Inventors:
Narasimhan, Keshavaiyengar Yoga (Los Altos, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/740412
Publication Date:
06/23/2005
Filing Date:
12/22/2003
Assignee:
NARASIMHAN KESHAVAIYENGAR Y.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/08; (IPC1-7): A63F9/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Narasimhan K. Y. (1540 Neston Way, LOS ALTOS, CA, 94024, US)
Claims:
1. 1-12. (canceled)

13. A self-interlocking mechanism for a puzzle in the shape of a cube whose exterior surface is defined by twenty-four wedges, each including two exposed right isosceles triangular faces disposed at a right angle to each other to define a portion of an edge of the cube extending from a respective corner to the mid point of said edge; maintaining said wedges in an assembled array whereby they may be permuted by rotations of two types about seven axes each disposed on one side of eleven distinct planes, one type being the rotation of the group of six wedges lying on one side of any plane that contains an equilateral triangle defined by three vertices of the cube about a vertex axis by some integer multiple of 120°, and the other type being the rotation of the group of twelve wedges lying on one side of any plane parallel to and midway between an opposite pair of faces of the cube about a face axis by some integer multiple of 90°; the exposed faces of said wedges being colored in a pattern which may be scrambled and unscrambled by a series of such rotations.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a spatial logical toy cube having a total of twenty-four toy elements mounted in a self-interlocking manner with eight tetrahedral elements and a central solid element.

2. Description of the Related Art

The well-known “Rubik's Cube” is a geometrical solid cube, built up of twenty-six small cubic toy elements, with any nine small cubes forming one surface of the overall larger cube, and which may be rotated in any direction along six different planes normal to three mutually perpendicular axes within the cube. The small cubic elements forming the plane surface of the large cube are either colored or indicated with numbers, figures or any other symbols. By rotating the small cubic elements, several combinations become possible in compliance with the contents yielded by the cube surface identifiers.

A number of patents have been granted that are concerned with various spatial logical toys and devices. Rubik, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,378,116, describes a spatial logical toy with eighteen toy elements arranged in a 3×3×2 matrix. Rotation of a portion of the matrix along the X, Y or Z axis is possible. Solving the puzzle is similar to the well-known Rubik's cube. Rubik, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,378,117, describes another spatial logical toy with eight toy elements arranged in a 2×2×2 matrix. The geometrical shape can be a cube or a sphere, with rotation of a portion of the matrix along the X, Y or Z-axis. The structure employs a spring-loaded connector to hold the matrix pieces together.

In U.S. Pat. No. 4,410,179, Rubik discloses a cylindrical shiftable element puzzle. The puzzle has two tiers of six elements each, with the pieces rotatable about three axes as well as between the two tiers. Sasso, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,416,453, describes a puzzle in the form of a multicolored regular solid. Plates on the faces of the solid have multiple colors and the objective is to arrange the plates so that no two colors of adjacent plates are the same.

In U.S. Pat. No. 4,478,418, Sherman, Jr. discloses a three-dimensional sliding element puzzle having a spherical inner support with circular tracks for movement of the puzzle pieces. One puzzle with square and triangular surface pieces is shown. Nadel, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,529,201, discloses a geometrical puzzle toy with a spherical base and with a plurality of tile members that are attachable to the base member. A variety of polyhedron shapes can be produced with various tile shapes.

In U.S. Pat. No. 4,593,908, Ibrahim describes a movable block geometrical puzzle having eight core pieces and having rotatable pyramid pieces connected to plane surfaces formed by the surfaces of at least two of the core pieces. The puzzle uses the 2×2×2 matrix configuration for the core blocks. The puzzle provides rotatable movement of pyramid blocks about an axis perpendicular to the plane surface to which the blocks are secured, as well as movement along with the supporting core blocks. In U.S. Pat. No. 6,644,665 Brooks discloses an octagon cube toy with twenty-six toy elements.

None of the above patents disclose a spatial logical toy cube having a total of twenty-four toy elements, with right-angled triangular external surfaces, mounted in a self-interlocking manner on eight tetrahedral solid elements and a central solid core element.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a spatial logical toy composed of twenty-four identical toy elements plus eight identical tetrahedral solid elements and a central solid core member arranged in a self-interlocking manner to form a cube. External triangular surfaces of eight toy elements form one face of the overall larger cube, and each toy element can be rotated in any direction of the spatial axes of the toy about eleven spatial axes within the cube. The external triangular surfaces of the toy elements forming the plane surface of the larger cube are either colored or indicated with numbers, figures or any other symbols. According, by rotating the toy elements, several combinations become possible in compliance with the contents yielded by the toy element surface identifiers.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the central solid core member includes twelve cylindrical ridge structures, eight equilateral triangular surfaces and six pyramidal structures oriented such that any two opposite triangular surfaces are perpendicular to a diagonal of the larger assembled cube. The cylindrical ridges of the central solid core mate with the corresponding cylindrical faces of the twenty-four toy elements forming the six surfaces of the cube. The central solid core member also has eight cylindrical holes, together with appropriately positioned spherical recess, which are coaxial with the four diagonals of the larger assembled cube. The eight identical tetrahedral solid elements each have a cylindrical extrusion together with a correspondingly positioned spherical bulge corresponding to the spherical recess in the holes of the said central solid core member. The tetrahedral solid element fits on the central solid core member in a self-interlocking manner, wherein the spherical bulge of the cylindrical extrusion on the tetrahedral solid mates with the corresponding spherical recess in the holes of the central solid core member. This self-interlocking method also allows rotation of the tetrahedral solid about the axis of the hole in the said central solid core element. Since there are eight spherical recesses in the central solid core member there are eight axis of rotation for the eight tetrahedral elements.

The tetrahedral solid also has partial cylindrical recesses on the same face as the cylindrical extrusion. The twenty-four identical toy elements have corresponding partial cylindrical extrusions corresponding to the partial cylindrical recess in the tetrahedral solid and also corresponding to the cylindrical ridges in the central solid core element. When assembled as a cube the outer surfaces of the partial cylindrical extrusions in the twenty-four toy elements mate with the partial cylindrical recess in the eight tetrahedral solid elements to form a self-interlocking cube. The inner surfaces of the partial cylindrical extrusion in the twenty-four toy elements mate with the corresponding cylindrical ridges in the central solid core member. The twenty-four toy elements can be repeatedly rotated and translated about any one of eleven axes such that the twenty-four toy elements, forming the surface of the cube, can be arranged in many combinations on the cube. The eleven axes about which the twenty-four toy elements can be rotated consist of eight axes collinear with the holes of the central solid core member together with three mutually perpendicular axes normal to the six faces of the larger assembled cube and passing through the center of the assembled cube.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the eight triangular outer surfaces of the toy elements forming one face of the assembled cube are each provided with one color. Similarly, the other five sets of eight triangular outer surfaces of the toy elements forming the remaining five faces of the assembled cube are each colored with five different colors. In this embodiment, all the triangular outer surfaces of the toy elements forming a face of the assembled cube will have the same color at the beginning and the six different faces of the assembled cube will have six different colors. When the twenty-four toy elements are rotated and translated randomly about the eleven axes, any one of the six faces of the assembled cube will have a mixture of some or all of the six colors. The object of the puzzle is to again rotate and translate about the eleven axes to bring back the toy elements to the original positions such that any face of the assembled cube will have toy elements of the same color.

To reduce the cost in production, the elements described above comprising the spatial logical toy cube may be manufactured from synthetic materials by injection molding. In order to save material, all the elements may be prepared as hollow elements. The simplicity provided by self-interlocking elements disclosed here, without any screws nuts bolts or springs facilitate ease of manufacture and assembly of the puzzle described here. Press fitting all the elements described here can easily assemble the puzzle.

Further aspects of this invention will become apparent in the following description and by reference to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustration of the assembled cube.

FIG. 2 illustration of one of the twenty-four identical toy elements.

FIG. 3 illustration of one of the twenty-four identical toy elements showing the cylindrical extrusion near one edge.

FIG. 4 illustration of one of the eight identical tetrahedral solid elements.

FIG. 5 illustration of another view of one of the eight tetrahedral solid elements.

FIG. 6 illustration of the top view of the central solid core element.

FIG. 7 illustration of the front view of the central solid core element.

FIG. 8 illustration of the section view of the central solid core element.

FIG. 9 illustration of the exploded view of the assembled cube.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

In the following description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and which show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments or processes in which the invention may be practiced. Where possible, the same reference numbers are used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like components. In some instances, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. The present invention, however, may be practiced without the specific details or with certain alternative equivalent devices and methods to those described herein. In other instances, well-known methods and devices have not been described in detail so as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of the present invention.

I. Overview and Assembly of the Components

FIG. 1 illustrates the assembled cube, as a preferred embodiment of the fundamental concept of this invention. The outer surfaces of the cube are formed from twenty-four identical toy elements 20. Eight triangular outer surfaces of the toy elements 20 form one face of the assembled cube as shown in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 2 through 8 illustrate the various components used to achieve the main objects of this invention.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show two views of the toy element 20. One edge of the equilateral triangular surface 21 of the toy element 20 has a partial cylindrical extrusion 23 shown in FIG. 3. At the center of the equilateral triangular surface 21 of the toy element 20 there is a small hemispherical recess 22. This hemispherical recess will facilitate in the alignment of the toy element 20 during manipulation of the assembled cube by rotation of the toy elements.

FIGS. 4 and 5 depict a preferred embodiment of the tetrahedral element 24. On one face of the tetrahedral element 24 there is a cylindrical extrusion 27 together with a spherical bulge 28 and the three edges of this face also have partial cylindrical recess 26. The remaining three faces of the tetrahedral element have a small hemispherical bulge 25, which correspond to the small hemispherical recess 22 in the toy element 20. The small hemispherical bulge 25 will facilitate in the alignment of the toy element 20 during manipulation of the assembled cube by rotation of the toy elements. The spherical bulge 28 in the cylindrical extrusion 27 facilitates in the self-interlocking of the tetrahedral solid element with the central solid core element. When the cube is assembled, the partial cylindrical recess 26 mates with the outer surface of the partial cylindrical extrusion 23 of the toy element 20 resulting in self-interlocking of the toy element 20.

In a preferred embodiment, FIG. 6 shows the top view and FIG. 7 shows the front view of the central solid core element. FIG. 8 shows the section view of the solid core element taken along 8-8 in FIG. 7. The central solid core element has eight holes 31 each placed at the center of the equilateral triangular surface 30 and perpendicular to the surface 30. Each of the holes 31 also has a spherical recess 32, which corresponds to the spherical bulge 28 in the tetrahedral element 24. The spherical recess 32 in the central solid core element and the spherical bulge 28 in the tetrahedral solid element facilitate in the self-interlocking of the tetrahedral solid element with the central solid core element. When the cube is assembled the equilateral triangular surface 29 of the eight tetrahedral solid elements shown in FIG. 5, align with the corresponding eight equilateral triangular surfaces 30 of the central solid core member. The cylindrical ridge 33 mates with the inner surface of the partial cylindrical extrusion 23 of the toy element.

FIG. 9 shows an exploded view of the cube assembled from twenty-four toy elements, eight tetrahedral elements and the central solid core member.

II. Conclusion

While certain preferred embodiments have been described and shown in the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that such embodiments are merely illustrative of, and not restrictive on, the broad invention. Other embodiments that are apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, including embodiments that do not provide all of the features and advantages set forth herein, are also within the scope of this invention. Further, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the specific construction and arrangements shown and described since various modifications or changes may occur to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is defined by the claims that follow. In the claims, a portion shall include greater than none and up to the whole of a thing. In the method claims, reference characters are used for convenience of description only, and do not indicate a particular order for performing the method.