|Developer(s)||Cubios Inc. Novato, California|
|Initial release||May 18, 2018|
|Written in||C, Pawn|
|Size||3″ x 3″ x 3″|
|Type||TUI, Puzzle, Handheld game console|
WOWCube is a game console or an electronic puzzle shaped as 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube. Serving as an example of a tangible user interface, it consists of eight identical elements working as a whole. It allows launching specially designed games.
The concept of the puzzle was proposed by Savva Osipov in 2016. The first prototype based on Arduino was developed in 2017. The Russian patent was obtained by Ilya and Savva Osipov in 2017. An early prototype was presented on June 8, 2017 at a scientific conference CALL in UC Berkeley, and in May 2018, the puzzle was presented to the general public at the Maker Faire exhibition in Santa Clara, California.
WowCube is a cube which consists of eight self-contained modules, which have 24 subdisplays collectively and rotate like elements of Rubik’s Cube. Magnetic connectors ensure continuous data exchange between the self-contained modules and the streamlined gaming process. Several games have been designed for WowCube, including puzzles, brain-teasers, Scrabble, platformers, and mazes. The gaming experience provided by WowCube is based on the mixed reality approach, which combines twisting and shaking the cube in reality with digital actions visualized on 24 squared subdisplays.
The unit consists of eight identical sections which exchange data via groups of magnetic contacts. The contacts, along with acting as communicating devices, ensure the stability of the entire structure, which allows the player to observe the gaming process on common faces comprised by displays of four adjacent sections.
Each section contains:
- three 1.56” 240x240 IPS TFT displays protected by Gorilla Glass;
- an STM32F405 microcontroller 168 MHz clock speed and 192 kB main memory;
- a 8 MB flash memory;
- a 6-axis gyroscope and an accelerometer;
- a 540 mA/h battery, and
- a Bluetooth module for connection with a smartphone or a tablet PC.
In the current version, the size of the unit is 3″ x 3″ x 3″ (76х76х76mm) and its weight is 14 oz (400g). The frame is made of an ABS polymer.
- "Editor’s Choice" at Maker Fair Exhibition, May 2018, Santa Clara, California.
- "Audience award" at Startup Competition SVOD’18 held in Computer History Museum.
The operation system used by the WowCube console is FreeRTOS. The P-code is interpreted by the abstract machine of the Pawn language, which allows executing precompiled game logics both on the console, and in its software emulation. The WowCube SDK contains a software emulator, which allows launching the designed games on a PC without an actual console. All components of the WowCube software are used under open licenses, such as MIT License, BSD Licenses, and Apache License.
The WowCube SDK includes a software emulator which allows developing software programs with no actual WowCube console available. Currently, the supported operating systems are Windows and MacOS. The emulator is based on the following free open-source software
- Processing language is used for 3D visualization of the game console, game (picture) uploading and displaying, and conveying various events (turning of the puzzle elements, accelerometer actions) from the user to the logics written in the Pawn language.
- Pawn language is used to write gaming logics, which reacts to events occurring in the actual WowCube console or in the emulator, and responding, in its turn, with a sequence of commands on visualizing the changes in the game environment.
- Visual Studio Code IDE is used to edit the game code in the Pawn language and execute it in the software emulator. The code for the 3D viewer of the WowCube, which is written in the Processing language, can be also edited.
- Siftable (the retail product sold by Sifteo, Inc. is called Sifteo cubes) are interactive module units (cubes) developed in the MIT Media Lab and capable of reproducing graphic images, determine the nature of their own spatial location, and interact with other modules. The interaction occurs when cubes are brought in contact, tilted, shaken, or turned. Each Siftable cube is equipped with a color display and IR ports on four sides of the unit for communication with other modules. The communication with a PC is via a Bluetooth module, images and data are stored in a flash storage. An accelerometer is used to monitor motions along three axes, shaking, tilting, and other changes in the spatial position of modules.
- GoCube is an electronic version of Rubik’s Cube presented by an independent team from Tel Aviv (Israel). It is a sporting gadget which can be connected to a smartphone or a tablet PC via Bluetooth, so that players could compete in speedcubing or learn by reading the displayed data 
- Larry D. Nichols’s 2×2×2 "Puzzle with Pieces Rotatable in Groups", invented in 1972
- Rubik’s Cube, invented in 1974
- Combination puzzle (sequential move puzzle)
- Game console
- Pocket Cube
- Distributed cognition
- Irina Mamikonyan (2018-10-03). "Russian-American start-up WOWCUBE raised $500K". Firrma (in Russian). Retrieved 2017-07-27.
- Dean Takahashi (2018-05-30). "Cubios' WowCube is a handheld game console inspired by Rubik's Cube". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- Por Noelia Núñez (2018-08-02). "El joven prodigio de 13 años que ha convertido el cubo de Rubik en videoconsola". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-08-04.
- Osipov, I. V.; Nikulchev, E. (2018-04-09). Review puzzles and construction sets falling under the category of augmented reality games. ITM Web Conf. 18. p. 4. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
- "patent RU2644313C1: 'Electronic device with volumetric transformable display' 2017". Google Patents. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- Osipov, I. V. (2017-07-08). Jozef Colpaert, ed. Transreality puzzle as an object of Augmented reality, Cubios puzzle (PDF). CALL in CONTEXT 2017. Depotnummer: D/2017/12.293/19. Berkeley, University of California: Proceedings, 2017. p. 626. ISBN 9789057285509. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
- WOWCUBE at Maker Faire Bay Area 2018, Zone 8 in Sequoia: Mixed Reality
- Josiah Motley (2018-05-31). "WOWCube is a digital, interactive gadget designed by a 13-year-old". KnowTechie. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
- "Patent WO2018075714 "ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR" 2018". WIPO.int. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
- Maker Faire Ribbon Winners
- SVOD'18 Startup Competition Finalists
- Merrill, D.; Kalanithi, J.; Maes, P. (2007-02-15). "Siftables: towards sensor network user interfaces". Proceedings of the 1st international conference on Tangible and embedded interaction. ACM: 75–78. doi:10.1145/1226969.1226984. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
- Chaim Gartenberg (2018-06-17). "Does the Rubik's Cube need a Bluetooth connection?". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- "Patent US3655201 A: 'Pattern forming puzzle and method with pieces rotatable in groups' by Larry D. Nichols, 1970". Google Patents. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
- "Patent US4378117: 'Spatial logical toy' by Erno Rubik, 1974". Google Patents. Retrieved 2017-07-25.