Back in March of 2014, University of Michigan mechanical engineering students Martin Harris and Samuelina Wright came up with an idea: why not build a giant Rubik's Cube that can be solved by hand? They got approval to do so as a senior design project, and organized a student team to make it happen. Although Harris, Wright and the other original team members have since graduated, the "kinetic sculpture" recently received its finishing touches from a second team that took over.
The cube is located in the G.G. Brown Building on the university's North Campus, and was created in homage to a spinning cube-shaped sculpture already present on the Central Campus.
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It's made mainly from aluminum, and weighs approximately 1,500 pounds (680 kg). Because of its size and weight, its sections can't simply be slid directly against one another like those of a traditional Rubik's Cube – the friction would be too great. Instead, it utilizes a system of rollers and transfer bearings.
"There is no other human-manipulable cube like this, to the best of our knowledge," says Prof. Noel Perkins, who advised the teams. "That said, it is not technically the largest cube. We're aware of a larger cube that requires the user to literally roll it on the ground to solve and rotate the faces. None of that is required by our stationary design. So to be very precise, it is the world's largest stationary, human manipulable Rubik's cube."
Its installation can be seen in the following video.
Source: University of Michigan