IIT Magazine Online Exclusive: X-Cube? X-ceptional!

By Marcia Faye

What has 52 moving parts, fits in the palm of your hand, and received more than 1.6 million hits on YouTube during the first month that it starred in its own video?

Answer: The X-Cube—or the Crossoid, so dubbed by the twisty-puzzle community that has embraced this innovative bundle of brainy 3-D fun designed and fabricated by Dane Christianson, an IIT second-year mechanical engineering student.

“I was really excited by the X-Cube’s reception; I did not expect it to be as popular as it is,” says Christianson, still wearing an I-can’t-believe-it expression during an interview on IIT Main Campus, where the X-Cube came to life. Christianson says that it would have been impossible to craft the puzzle’s intricate pieces without the 3-D printer at IIT’s Idea Shop.

“The Idea Shop is just fantastic,” he says, about the 13,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility at IIT’s University Technology Park. “When I found out that there was a place at IIT entirely devoted to creation, I was blown away.”

Christianson grew up inspired by his father, a software engineer, and his early interest in robotics, participating in various FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) programs. He fabricated his first puzzle by hand the summer before he began high school at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in west suburban Aurora. It was a 3x3x5 twisty puzzle—a functional, extended version of the legendary 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube.

Finish reading about Christianson and his X-Cube on the IIT Magazine website.