The Cube on the University of Michigan’s campus, located next to the Michigan Union, is a staple for prospective student tours, Instagram picture and club meetings. Now, thanks to a group of Michigan Engineering students, a new cube has come to campus — this time, in the form of a Rubik’s Cube on North Campus.
The project, which was unveiled on Thursday in the southwest corner on the second floor of the G.G. Brown Building, was created and designed by two teams of mechanical engineering students.
The first group of students — Kelsey Hockstad, Dan Hiemstra, Martin Harris and Samuelina Wright — worked on the cube for two years, but graduated in 2016. A new group of students took over the project this year, with the original team advising them.
The idea for the cube came on Pi Day in 2014, when two students were hanging out in the College of Engineering honors office, playing with a Rubik’s Cube. Suddenly, one of the students in the office, Harris, had a groundbreaking idea: He wanted to make a massive version, as a competitor to the cube on Central Campus.
“The Rubik’s Cube has been a consistent source of relaxation and mystery for me over the years, which is what I love most about it,” he said. “Since high school, I have thought of it as a physical representation of entropy. By inputting enough work, it’s possible to make the cube more organized, but its natural tendency is toward chaos.”
The idea got approved as a capstone senior design project, and so, a group of mechanical engineering students were tasked with creating a cube that people would be able to spin from all sides.
“This is a truly amazing and unique kinematic mechanism that functions as a Rubik’s Cube,” Noel Perkins, a professor of mechanical engineering and adviser to the students, said in the same article.
Perkins noted the production of the cube is especially impressive, given the size of the project.
“There is no other human-manipulable cube like this, to the best of our knowledge,” he said. “So to be very precise, it is the world’s largest stationary, human-manipulable Rubik’s Cube.”
Engineering senior Ryan Kuhn, one of the developers and producers of the project, is excited about having a cube on North Campus that can compete with the Central Campus landmark.
“Now North Campus has an iconic cube of our own,” he said.