Crossing the Rubicon: 3 dimensions

NATHAN PIEDAD

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The Rubik’s Cube is a childhood staple. A simplistic design conceals hours of idle entertainment posed in the form of a challenge. And senior Trey Driggs is always ready to take on a challenge.

Driggs has been “cubing” for almost two years. His first exposure was through a causal purchase of a four-pack of cubes. Over time, his collection expanded to include more intricate puzzles, all of which were based on the original cube.

“I started to expand my knowledge to different shapes,” Driggs said. “Something that [my older brother and I] would do is just look at Amazon and see what weird stuff we could find.”

His findings ranged from a simple 2×2 cube to a complicated puzzle ball covered with gears. But Driggs remained restless. His hands were constantly moving, fiddling with one brand-new puzzle cube or another. The cubes were brain-teasers that open his mind and encourage analytical thought.

“I just really like the symmetry,” Driggs said. “There’s a lot of problem solving when it comes to Rubik’s Cubes. You have to really think about what to put and where.”

The soft, methodical clicking of Driggs’ puzzle cubes shadows him everywhere. As a close friend of Driggs, senior Abby Edmondson hears him coming before she sees him. Eventually, Edmonson gave in to curiosity and attempted to pursue the pastime as well.

(NATHAN PIEDAD / EYE OF THE TIGER)

“I’m not too great at it, but it’s a fun hobby,” Edmondson said. “He has a ton of cubes now…it’s a lot of fun to fidget with. It’s cool, multicolored, and twisty.”

Where many enjoy collecting cubes to practice solving them as quickly as possible, Driggs’ interest remains intellectual. There’s nothing he enjoys more than the puzzling aspect of the sport.
“I was never really fast with them,” Driggs said.

Sometimes, Driggs ́ fiddling is interspersed with the scratch of a pencil. Driggs has taken to creating algorithms for each of his puzzles. Like with chess, he aspires to determine how to move the pieces as efficiently as possible.

The variety of shapes and sizes in his collection make the process more difficult. He has to consider multiple variables and no singular algorithm fits the bill. Luckily, Driggs is in it for the challenge.

“…I definitely do take an educated guess,” Driggs said. “There’s a lot of days when I just sat there with a pen and paper, trying to make an algorithm where I write down all my moves [and] see what it does.”