Electronic puzzles bring familiar games to a new level and offer a lot of unfamiliar ones. In the days when smart phones and laptop computers could hardly be read about, except in the works of fiction, Erno Rubik invented the toy that happened to have conquered the world. A little later, there came the time of simple but exciting handheld games – a series of “Electronics”, “Tetris” and “Snake”. Today, the charm of simplicity is based on modern technology, and a clear example of that is the game console called Futuro Cube, developed by the Czech Princip Interactive company.
Apart from the “cube” version of “Snake”, a more complicated version of the Japanese game Gomoku, “Cubris” (as you can guess, this is a modification of “Tetris”) and other games, Futuro Cube offers the unique Rubik’s cube.
Each face of the cube is divided into 9 LED squares with the 64- or 255-step PWM for smooth control of brightness and color transitions. Contrary to the first impression, the squares are not touch-sensitive, but the three-axis MEMS accelerometer can detect the moment of clicking on its surface, or “turning”. The sensors also monitor which side of the cube is facing up, and so they identify different patterns of moves to provide management with gestures.
Futuro Cube is controlled by the Cortex M3 processor with ARM architecture; it supports 128 MB internal memory (NAND Flash), and is powered by a 1 Ah lithium-polymer battery. The manufacturer claims that you can play for hours, and the full charge via micro-USB (which also serves to update the device software) takes about 2.5 hours. The protocol of radio connection at the frequency of 2.4 GHz allows you to organize multiplayer games – the main thing for the participants is not to walk away for more than 5 meters.
In the near future, the SDK for third-party developers is expected. It will allow anyone (who can do it) to create games for the Futuro Cube, which can be installed to the device, along with the latest inventions from the manufacturer. Currently, the price of these toys is €60 ($80).