Turning A Building Into A Rubik’s Cube


[Javier] must have an awesome academic adviser. For his master’s thesis, he turned a building into a Rubik’s cube.

The Ars Electronic Center in Linz, Austria, is a building with a whole bunch of colored, programmable lights on the facade. [Javier] thought this would make for an excellent Rubik’s cube, and set to work convincing his thesis advisers this idea was possible, and building the hardware and software.

Since only two sides of the building are visible at any one time, [Javier] needed to build a controller for this project. The solution was to build a normal Rubik’s cube and stuff a microcontroller and a FreeIMU in the center. This setup senses the twists and turns of the Rubik’s cube, as well as it’s position in space, effectively creating an interface between the hand and a giant light-covered building.

The Rubik’s cube interface connects to a computer running an app written in openFrameworks. By sensing the direction the cube is oriented, it can automatically display the two sides of the cube facing the user.

There’s a great video showing just how this building-sized Rubik’s cube works. You can check that out below.

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This has not been a good week for the hacker community


The Internet lost a few great minds this week. [Aaron Swartz], confronted with an upcoming federal trial for his actions in downloading and releasing public domain academic articles from JSTOR, hanged himself this week. As one of the co-developers for RSS, the Creative Commons license, and slew of other works, [Aaron]’s legacy expanded the freedoms and possibilities of the most important human invention since the book.

Perhaps overshadowed in the news by [Aaron] is [Fabio Varesano], the man behind FreeIMU and Femtoduino. He died of a sudden heart attack at the much too young age of 28. The RC helicopter/plane/drone and HCI/physical computing communities lose a great mind with [Fabio]’s passing.

There is talk on the Dangerous Prototypes forum of continuing the development of FreeIMU, a project it seems [Fabio] worked on alone. We’d love to see someone pick up the reigns of the FreeIMU project, hopefully after doing a run of the current hardware and donating the proceeds to [Fabio]’s family.