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 Post subject: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:31 am
Location: Greece, Australia, Thailand, India, Singapore.
Season Greetings to everyone. :-)

I know had been away for a very long time mainly to keep myself away
from certain illogical situations, but I am someone who looks forward
and I hope everyone here can be honest, gentle, and polite to each other.
The addition of two new great admins had also reinforced my belief that this
place can only become better.

My absence was also related to personal factors, but as usual, all this time
I have been working like a maniac inside my secret lab and produced some
interesting results, ending up with the "Acropolis" prototype.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SiYKUfgk5A


In the video above, I am showing a brief history of my (now patented) "Alien
Technology" Mechanism. This mechanism comes in many forms, but it is dictated
by a universal structure. Changing even slightly the parameters of this structure
gives designs that puzzle-wise (and solving-wise) can be completely different
to each other. But as I stated, they all use the same universal logic.

Firstly, I show the Yoshimoto Cube (which is a 1971 major extension of the 1962
Pfeiffer cube). Until now, the Pfeiffer cube was the only full-inversion mechanism
for a cube in existence. Then, in 2008, I created a structure which combined the
properties of the Pfeiffer cube and those of the Rubik's magic, and that gave me
a design with more cubic states. However, I was not happy with its stability, so
I then searched for something better.

In this video, I am revealing many structures together, among them the Houlis cube,
the new full-inversion mechanism (the one with the blue triangular stickers) which
not only has a lot more states than the only two of the Pfeiffer cube, but it always
retains its cubic shape after each move (i.e. it does not become a parallelepiped).
And yes, it is based on my "Alien Tech" mechanism. I then go on with other structures,
such as the triangular tiles, the butterfly tiles, the deformed tiles, etc, then I present
the mechanisms based on Alien Tech, and I finally conclude with the Acropolis puzzle.

Essentially, as we are now considering 3D solids which climb on each other, we have
a jump from "folding" puzzles to "climbing" puzzles (maybe something like a missing link
between folding and twisty puzzles?). Since this mechanism is generically different
to other known ones, they can surely be combined with older mechanisms for some
interesting results.

Here is the order of the objects I am presenting in the video:

00:00 Yoshimoto Cube (this is NOT my invention!)

00:23 A few prototype pieces (I invested in a total of 40(!) prototypes - some of them
failed miserably - a lot of payments in wooden and/or 3D printed parts, endless cuts
on my fingers, and many years of work before success).

00:41 The "Iris Diamond" (my 2008 triangular tile structure which works surprisingly well)

00:58 The "Butterfly" mechanism I constructed by using tiles from the Rubik's Magic
mechanism. It gives some nice "flying" effect, don't you agree? :-)

01:23 The bulky "Square Wheel" which has an outrageous look (because I used some
stacked Rubik's Magic tiles, and as expected, in totally a different way those tiles were
used in the past!).

01:52 My "Manta" structure, based on deformed tiles, which can give more states and
more shapes (such as the two types of crosses). I had to deform with heat those tiles!

02:35 My Houlis Cube, the new generation full-inversion model based on Alien Tech.
Isn't it a beauty? It is slightly loose though because it is a prototype, but it works
extremely well, and as you may see, despite its looseness, it does not fall apart!

03:18 Another prototype.

03:33 My 2x2x2 "3-connection" prototype. Its synchronised rotation can be applied
through all three axes, while it doesn't fall apart!

03:50 My "Acropolis" puzzle is a 3x3x3 "3-connection" puzzle which better demonstrates
the movement because it has a center piece on each side. The goal is to reveal all twelve
Olympian Gods which reside inside the Acropolis (namely, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Athena,
Poseidon, Afroditi, Ares, Artemis, Hefaistos, Dimitra, Hermes, and Dionysus). As expected,
the mechanism is also based on "Alien Tech", and it works like a dream.



Also, in the background of the video, from left to right are: Aquadron (my Rotational Gravity
Puzzle that uses water), my (always winning) Amiga 500(!) joystick, the One Four All (Fitting
Interlocking Puzzle), Colossus (my Four Dimensional Symmetry Puzzle which is sitting on top
of two football "board" games), Matrix (my Permutation puzzle, whose structure can emulate
any puzzle which is based on an algebraic group, including Rubik's cube), and of course the
Giannakopoulos bubble-head figure LOL.

Finally, I am announcing that after eighteen years, I am leaving Australia (as my base), and
I am returning to Greece. The move can definitely be seen as puzzle related (and I cannot say
much at this stage), but I also believe it is a punch to the stomach to all those journalists
who have created the "bad Greece" stereotype image. Not only Greece is the most beautiful country,
but this June, I should have ready and built my beautiful "puzzle" house in the Kastellorizo island.
That move should also allow me to attend some DCDs and GCDs. :-)

As for crisis, it is everywhere, and it was created by systemic errors and corrupt euro politicians.
Anyway, I don't want to go into political talk, but those who know me, I am sure understand me.
I will try to post more, though I am too busy packing my staff including that... three thousand
puzzles collection.

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and wish you to have a Happy New Year. I know times
can be tough for some, but people, especially puzzlers, should never give up! :-)


Pantazis



PS. Andreas, you have done an absolutely GREAT job with the museum, and when it is appropriate
to have images of the above, I will let you know (that way, my puzzles won't accumulate more!!!)

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 7:03 am
Location: Koblenz, Germany
Let me be the first to say:
1. Interesting concept.
2. I can't say that I understand it.
3. Welcome back!
kastellorizo wrote:
PS. Andreas, you have done an absolutely GREAT job with the museum, and when it is appropriate to have images of the above, I will let you know (that way, my puzzles won't accumulate more!!!)
Sounds very good. That means I wont do anything about Acropolis before I get another message.
BTW: There was a reason why I push your creations back to the bottom of the TODO-list: I am afraid of describing them properly. And now you come with your alien technology. I need your HELP.

Andreas


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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:18 am 
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Here is the second saying
Welcome back!

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:49 am 
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Welcome back!

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:31 am
Location: Greece, Australia, Thailand, India, Singapore.
Thank you all for the welcome back wishes.

And Andreas, I am happy to help with any of the descriptions
as I know your task is really daunting!


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Hi Pantazis, welcome back!

Your Acropolis looks cool! Interesting mechanism - looks fun to play with.
Can the 3x3x3 be inverted?

Good luck with your move.

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:05 pm 
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Location: Marin, CA
Very glad to see you back Pantazis! I really like the video and the Acropolis does look like a very unique new 3d Magic style puzzle with great solvability!
Pantazis, would you consider Tetrex a "climbing solids" puzzle too?
I hope it'll get mass production! Congrats.

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:50 pm 
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Rob and Jason, thanks for the kind remarks, and I know will meet you again
somewhere far away in the next months. ;-)

Rob, regarding the 3x3x3 let us say that the corner pieces need to have
all of their six sides stickered. That is, all sides appear at some point,
but the corners which touch the center never get to become outer corners
of the big cube. I would call it as "temporal piecewise" inversion. If anyone
wants to come forward with a better definition, please do so.

Jason, I believe the word "climbing" describes much more accurately this type
of mechanism (as I crazily call it "Alien Tech"). The word "magic" is too general
and I am sure many magicians searching in Google and ending up with photos
of puzzles would be cursing us LOL. It also mainly refers to the flat folding puzzle
by Rubik with its specific type of stringing. But my connections are very different.
And yes, your truly wonderful Tetrex is by definition a climbing type puzzle, and
it also uses a different mechanism to the ones described here.

In any case, I have already stickered the 2x2x2 "3-connection" Houlis Cube into
the "Precious Cube", while in the video above I did not show the extension of
the Pfeiffer Cube using cubes made of Rubik's Magic tiles and using the Magic
stringing!!! (it is HUGE LOL). Maybe I should make another video showing all those
as well as more clearly their movement. What do you think?

:)


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:09 pm 
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kastellorizo wrote:
Jason, I believe the word "climbing" describes much more accurately this type
of mechanism (as I crazily call it "Alien Tech"). The word "magic" is too general
and I am sure many magicians searching in Google and ending up with photos
of puzzles would be cursing us LOL.


I agree-- I've never liked the name, especially considering it's also used for Twisty Puzzles sometimes, ie. "Magic Cube".

kastellorizo wrote:
Maybe I should make another video showing all those
as well as more clearly their movement. What do you think?


Yes, please. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:44 pm 
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JasonSmith wrote:
I agree-- I've never liked the name, especially considering it's also used for Twisty Puzzles sometimes, ie. "Magic Cube".


Well, now I am worried of that professional mountain climbers will have a similar problem.
But at least climbers cannot cast intercontinental magic spells!


JasonSmith wrote:
kastellorizo wrote:
Maybe I should make another video showing all those
as well as more clearly their movement. What do you think?

Yes, please. :)


Ok then, will prepare a better video (hopefully soon!).


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis (by Pantazis) *NEW VIDEO*
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Here's the new "Acropolis" video (also including my "Precious Cube", my "Houlis Cube",
and my "Kinky cube"). Just read its description for more details. :-)
(It also has some nice background song!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTK5_goh2qw


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:14 am 
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Well, that was very enjoyable. Thanks Pantazis. :)
You'll be pleased to know I can't quite figure out the mechanism you're using. Hopefully I'll get to see these in person sometime...
:)

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:32 am 
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It looks to me like the Precious Cube has a magnet mechanism and clever turning. I doubt this is the case, but that's how it appears. I'm wrong, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:38 am 
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Jason: The mechanism has gone from "known to complex to simple". A true Odyssey
with a very satisfying end-result which convinced me to invest in yet another patent.
I will 100% be at the Nuremberg Toy Fair, and there is an 80% possibility I will be at
the New York Fair too, can you make it there? If yes, the probability will increase more! :-)

eye2eye: The only reason I am using the magnets on the Precious Cube, is because
the cubic pieces are too heavy and can damage the connections. The magnets are not
really necessary as they also destroy the stickers (LOL), but at least they maintain some
nice alignment property. Obviously, the Acropolis and the Houlis Cube use no magnets
at all, as they are made of smaller and consequently lighter cubes. :-)


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:57 am 
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Welcome back, nice concept and prototype!

Do you think you could make these constructs more stable and robust (less floppy/flimsy)? I ask only because it reminds me of the problems Oskar had with his spherigears puzzle, as well as the molecular flexibility of cyclohexane which is an intrinsic property of its structure...

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:25 am 
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KelvinS wrote:
Welcome back, nice concept and prototype!

Do you think you could make these constructs more stable and robust (less floppy/flimsy)? I ask only because it reminds me of the problems Oskar had with his spherigears puzzle, as well as the molecular flexibility of cyclohexane which is an intrinsic property of its structure...



Thanks for the kind words Kelvin, and I appreciate those constructive links. :)

By definition there is a lot of room for improvement. For example, the Acropolis cube
is the very first 3x3x3 prototype (which I constructed right out from my theory) and
it is homemade. I was actually surprised it was turning so well, considering the
amateurish connections I made. The tolerances can be improved in many ways as
this mechanism is too simple to be true (but it is!). It is based on non-gear connections,
so it is impossible to have "over-shooting" issues, while right now I am organising a lab
for my designs where I can produce my prototypes the way they are supposed to be.


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:46 am 
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Sounds like the right approach and I'm sure you'll be able to improve the stability substantially. It took James Dyson over 3,000 prototypes to perfect his bagless vacuum cleaner, and as many thousands of prototypes for Edison to get his electric light working, so hopefully you shouldn't need anywhere near this number to get it really nice and robust. And the simpler the design, the easier it should be to get right as there are fewer variables (angles, dimensions, materials and tolerences) to refine. :D

Incidentally, before anyone else asks, how many permutations does the 3x3x3 version have?

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:57 am 
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Indeed, when people look at a final product they cannot even imagine the entire path
from nothing to idea to prototype(s) to fully working version. I made 40 prototypes
for this, from an effort that started in 2008 (I am sure some people here, especially
Jason, will remember our discussions), and I was lucky I had some extra experience
in such designs (I made 100+ mechanically different folding designs - ask Andreas LOL -
while no one else had successfully categorised all the single-closed-loop Rubik's Magic structures).

You are spot on regarding simplicity. This is the main reason I am trying to discover simple
designs. Because then, not only they can generate an entire new family of structures,
but their simplicity makes them too flexible for many reasons.

Finally, the permutations... this is the fun part! By connecting them "differently" you get
different "climbings" and consequently, different number of permutations. E.g. the Precious
Cube and the Houlis Cube, *do* have some connection in common. However, the way they
move is completely different, as well as the number of cubic states. And I would spoil the fun
if I revealed at once the total of cubic states. Any guesses?

:)

Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:18 am 
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Excellent puzzles. The movement of the Acropolis cube reminds me of the following origami model by Heinz Strobl:

Wobbling Wall

The fact that you could have this movement along all three axes is quite a surprise to me, however. Very cool!


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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:45 am 
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Taus wrote:
Excellent puzzles. The movement of the Acropolis cube reminds me of the following origami model by Heinz Strobl:

Wobbling Wall

The fact that you could have this movement along all three axes is quite a surprise to me, however. Very cool!

Strobl's puzzle is limited to 2 dimensions because the cubes are connected by hinges between their edges, while in Pantazis's puzzles it seems that they are joined only by their corners, so they work in 3D but are also less stable and more susceptible to twisting...

Is that right, Pantazis?

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Welcome back Pantazis!
You are an incredible asset to the community! I hope you have time once again to post here regularly, but I totally understand that you are busy beyond belief.
I have plenty of stuff to catch up on, but I will take a better look at your videos and new concepts a little later.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Great to have you back Pantazis, and even better with such a full post. I look forward to seeing them in person!

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:28 pm 
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Taus, indeed, I was always intrigued by the movement of that structure.
So you can imagine my satisfaction when I managed to achieve it through
all three axes. That also meant the ability of applying this for more applications
than just puzzles (there might be a future collaboration in pressure absorbing
structures that do not need frame - Civil Engineering).

Kelvin, you are right for some cases. In fact, I am using combinations of connections,
and yes, some of those connections involve corners, while some involve a lot
more than that (hint: the rubber-bands I show in the Houlis cube allow the
cubes to "climb" through all six faces). It will be difficult to describe those in detail
in one paragraph, but I guess the patent details may be good enough to explain
(when the right time comes!). Still, I personally believe that even words can't do justice,
and trying the puzzle in person is the best experience. Many people I know (even
those who are not puzzle related) have tried them without being able to destroy them,
so I am very confident to allow everyone to try out even the "badly made" prototypes!

Darryl, I would love to hear your opinion about them, please let me know once
you go through the videos.

David, I hope I can show them in person to those interested. I will be coming
to the 2013 Nuremberg and New York Toy Fairs, as well as the corresponding puzzle
events. If you join me there, I promise you won't regret it. Sadly, I won't be able
to be at the Hong Kong Toy Fair this year, as it coincides with the dates of me
moving between... continents!


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:17 am 
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I had trouble wrapping my head around some of your previous forrays into the realm or shattering people's perceptions of what is possible even being able to see them, so imagine how mindboggled I am in response to these new wonders now that I am only capable of hearing the words written on this forum.

I hope I can one day lay hands on even a small fraction of your perception of possible altering designs, even if touch alone would leave me incapable of fully-appreciating them.

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:58 am 
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Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
I had trouble wrapping my head around some of your previous forays into the realm or shattering people's perceptions of what is possible even being able to see them, so imagine how mind-boggled I am in response to these new wonders now that I am only capable of hearing the words written on this forum.

I hope I can one day lay hands on even a small fraction of your perception of possible altering designs, even if touch alone would leave me incapable of fully-appreciating them.


Wow... can I use those words in the future as my signature???

Thank you for this unbelievable praise and I am not sure I even deserve it!
One thing I know, it will surely motivate me to invest my time in discovering
more "crazy-stuff"! And trust me, there are already many more other designs
in my long list queuing to be realised one day...

:)


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:30 pm 
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Nice to see something new for you, I wonder what possibilities this will open up for new puzzles. No doubt you have some wonderful ideas for confusing everyone in that clever head of yours. Hopefully I'll get a chance to understand this new mechanisn at some point, I have a (possibly optimistic) hunch that it could bring a physical 3x3x3x3 puzzle one step closer to reality by some ingenious use of the mechanism, and I still want to see one of those one day!


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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:19 pm 
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bobthegiraffemonkey wrote:
Nice to see something new for you, I wonder what possibilities this will open up for new puzzles. No doubt you have some wonderful ideas for confusing everyone in that clever head of yours. Hopefully I'll get a chance to understand this new mechanisn at some point, I have a (possibly optimistic) hunch that it could bring a physical 3x3x3x3 puzzle one step closer to reality by some ingenious use of the mechanism, and I still want to see one of those one day!


Indeed, your view is very optimistic when based on my above structure. Although I would love
your prediction to become true, and that I could also be missing something, it is hard to see
that this structure in its current form would allow the cubes to be separated "too far" from
each other. Of course, in this world, always expect the unexpected!!! And I do believe that at
some point, someone will come up with a structure that faithfully resembles the elusive 3x3x3x3.

:)


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:53 pm 
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Wow! I absolutely would love to see the Acropolis mass produced! That Alien Technology is pretty cool :)

I think I've actually played with your Manta puzzle before. I remember thinking it looks like a candy dish. I was just impressed that the strings wouldn't seem to fall off like it looks like they should.

Can't wait to see what else you have in development. I hope your move goes as smooth as possible.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:30 am 
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Thanks for the words and the wishes Darryl, everyone who played with any of the prototypes
didn't want to give it back to me! Sometimes I had to be a bit violent to retrieve it!!! LOL
(this is something that never happened for any of my previous designs

And yes, I believe you tried out the Manta (which has other variants too, but the one
I showed is the best).

Taking the chance with this post, I also want to wish to everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
(Here in Perth, we currently have 42(!) degrees Celsius and we are literally melting... and
I do not plan to celebrate, but better finish my... infinite packing before my departure!)

:)


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:05 am 
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Feel free to quote me in your signature, Pantazis(and please excuse any mispelling of your name, as my vision problems make it difficult to check the spelling).

I comprehend the cubedron and its near relatives, and I understand the Rubik's magic and as such can comprehend many of the variants you created, but your 4-D Symmetry puzzles and Alien technology have been some of the most mind blowing things I have heard of since I first held a Rubik's cube as a child.

Anyways, I hope all goes well with your opposite-side-of-the-globe move.

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 Post subject: Re: Acropolis etc (by Pantazis Houlis)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:31 am
Location: Greece, Australia, Thailand, India, Singapore.
Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
Feel free to quote me in your signature, Pantazis(and please excuse any mispelling of your name, as my vision problems make it difficult to check the spelling).

I comprehend the cubedron and its near relatives, and I understand the Rubik's magic and as such can comprehend many of the variants you created, but your 4-D Symmetry puzzles and Alien technology have been some of the most mind blowing things I have heard of since I first held a Rubik's cube as a child.

Anyways, I hope all goes well with your opposite-side-of-the-globe move.


Jeffery, I can assure you that you spell my name perfectly (unlike some other people
who are supposed to have perfect vision!)

Again, thank you for the nice words, and there is some interesting future regarding
the 4Ds designs, as I had been involved in discussions with people from all over
the world to exhibit them as part of an international art event/presentation in July/August!

Of course, this automatically means professional type of showcasing it (I will be able
to uncover more details in the next months). Luckily, I have managed to meet many
of the people who emailed me about them, as they found them as intriguing as I do. :)

Note that, those people have not seen yet the Acropolis cube! It is going to be fun!

:lol:


Pantazis

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