Disclaimer---Please don't take this concept to commercial use without my notice! Also, I later found that I don't actually "own" the idea in the first place(See RFID RSSI indoor localization), but I am the first one to put it together with speedcubing.
Exciting things this technology could/might achieve
- The system can be installed to ALL STICKERLESS CUBES WITH A HOLLOW EDGE(Probably most people's mains by now), so you can make your main a smart cube!
- A smartcube that doesn't need charging at all!
- Considerably cheaper(I hope so....)than smart cubes nowadays like the Gan 356i or GoCube.
- The system can (only theoretically)be implanted to all twisty puzzles(smart 4x4 ,smart 5x5, smart skewb, etc)!
This technology relies on passive RFID chips, which will be installed in the 12 edges of the cube(9 at least), and since the chips are passive, you don't need to charge the cube at all, it's just like a regular cube.
For anyone who wants to recommend alternatives, make sure the technology uses passive chips(if not,totally fine, the only limit is no battery) and has a HUGE signal strength gradient over a small distance. The bigger the gradient is, the better.
This design is straightforward and should have a high success rate, but has the down side of squeezing your turning space into a box, and the box is harder to carry around. This particular design only works for 3x3.
We have a box surrounding the cube, as shown in the picture, with the small spheres representing the 8 RFID emitters/receivers. Now, since the signal strength from the emitters will decrease when the distance between it and the chips increases(signal strength is inversely proportional to distance squared), we need each chip to return two key information to the receiver: the chip's ID number and the signal strength it gets from each particular emitter.
Let's consider only one chip for now. In total, each of the 8 receivers will get a value from the chip of it's own signal strength THAT IS DETECTED BY THE CHIP, in these eight values, there will be two value that are the highest(strongest signal), which will be the two closest to the edge, as shown in the picture, thus we can know where the edge is. (In the picture, the blue edge is closest to the two blue receivers and red edge closest to the red receivers, so the chip will detect the strongest signal from them)
The same process is repeated on each of the 12 chips for every couple of milliseconds. When the cube turns, these values change, and by calculating these changes, we can locate each and every edge's movement, thus detecting the turns. 9 is the smallest amount of edge needed to have chips in them because for every move you make, at least one edge with a chip needs to be in that layer for the turn to be detected.(Tell me if I need to explain in detail)
Please post your thoughts about this below! Any technical thoughts(help!), usability problems and also, constructive criticism are very welcomed.