From the very first moment Max Filin, COO of Cubios Inc., put the prototype in our hands, we were wowed by Wowcube.
This new twist on the beloved analog Rubik’s Cube could be the next Pokemon Go. There’s something in it for everyone. As if they were paid shills, the two children at the table next to ours were soon testing out the Wowcube. Indy Valles, age 8, called it “video Lego.”
Wowcube, which has been in development for the past two years, consists of 24, tiny 1.4-inch microdisplays. “It’s Earth’s first twisty game system,” said Filin. “We’re going to hack human evolution by twisting and shaking!”
Imagine a 2 x 2 inch Rubik’s cube, but instead of the sides being a solid color it’s covered with high-resolution microdisplays instead. Like the original, the video cubelets can be twisted, delivering the click that made the original so satisfying, except these have a tiny CPU inside, which connects to an app by Bluetooth, creating a massive number of possible combinations.
The concept of Wowcube belongs to 13-year-old Savva Osipov, who runs a popular DIY tech YouTube channel. “What if to place characters and gameplay on Rubik’s Cube surface and control the game by twisting tilting and shaking,” he thought. His father, inventor, and entrepreneur, Ilya Osipov, was inspired by the idea and thought there was a way to get it done. Little did he know he was setting out to write his own operating system and create app store for the device. Soon he was filing for their own patents.
Wowcube is an electro-mechanical twisty game system which looks like a 2 x 2" version of a Rubik’s Cube. It consists of eight autonomous modules combined together in a way that enables them to be rotated by four in a layer around three mutually perpendicular axises in a way that resembles a Rubik’s Cube. Despite the fact that every module of Wowcube is autonomous they are connected to each other sharing data. There are multiple smart connectors on each module which allow the data to be transferred between autonomous modules on the fly. There are four connectors on the inner side of each module interfacing with the three adjacent modules. These smart connectors enable data sharing and distributing the low voltage power across Wowcube.
Filin says the patent on the Rubik’s cube is in the public domain. “We really want to meet Erne Rubik,” Filin told me, “because I think what we made is a logical next step. It is the 21century version. Everything is interactive, so you could say we’ve made a future Rubik’s Cube. A toy from a science fiction movie.”
The Osipovs raised $1.4 million in seed funding, allowing them to build three generations of WowCube prototypes. They’ve eschewed Kickstarter, for fear of ending up in the Kickstarter graveyard and having that hang over their heads. “You have just one shot on Kickstarter,” Filin explained, “There is no second chance. If you fail, it will be forever.” There’s always Shark Tank.
The current plan is to put 200 Wowcubes in the hands of independent developers, advisors, investors, and influencers and see if a manufacturer, retailer, marketer, or seed round can be put together. “Next Christmas (December 2020) will be our moment,” Filin told me. In addition to games, the company developed a dozen utility apps like calendar, weather, and news that can be shown on the screens when Wowcube is in its charging dock.
The company impressed Steve Wozniak at DesTechAz 2019. This fall, Frasier Townley, the founder and inventor of Gamevice, an award-winning design and engineering firm that creates touch screen tablets and game controllers, signed on as a senior advisor. They plan to be at CES in January, and Toyfair in the Spring.
The founders also have high hopes for Wowcube’s web-based drag and drop programming interface as an educational tool. They say will allow kids with only computer game skills to create new games, in addition to opening up the platform for other developers to make content for their store.
The company projects the finished device will retail for $149 — $249, depending on volume. WowCube will be preloaded with several games including Pipes, Scrabble, Space, Puzzle, and Maze. The long term play is recurring revenue from the Wowcube app store.