Two High Schoolers Have Created a Rubik's Cube for the Blind

Two high school students and friends have created a Rubik's Cube especially for the blind, by combining their love for puzzles with an interest in accessibility tools.

Sasha Thomas and Carson Mowrer, current high schoolers in Washington state, bonded over their shared interest in Rubik's Cube and other puzzle games while in 7th grade. The two became fast friends. Perhaps inspired by Sasha's father, a rehab outpatient specialist for the blind, Sasha and Carson developed an idea more than a year ago of designing a Rubik's Cube for people with visually impairments.

They knew that their Rubik's Cube would need to be tactile, rather than relying on colors. And being puzzle experts themselves, they also knew how important it was to have the opposite sides of the Cube be "paired" or connected in some way. Solving a Rubik's Cubs is all about algorithms, says Thomas, continuing: "There are certain patterns and series of moves you need to know how to do on the cube to get everything to line up where you need it to."

Armed with what they knew about how to solve the puzzle, Sasha and Carson bought a generic Rubik's Cube and added different styles of raised textured materials to each of its six sides. The high schoolers tinkered with the design until they felt satisfied. Then they cold-called the Washington State School for the Blind, and asked if they could come work with some students on the tactile Rubik's Cube. They got the green light.

Sasha and Carson got to work with six students from the school for the blind. And according to all accounts, the visit was inspiring. Of course, the new puzzle-solvers struggled with the Rubik's Cubes at first; even Sasha and Carson said that the tactile version was more challenging than the regular! But by working on the challenge, both the experts and the newbies found immense value.

As for what's next for the tactile Rubik's Cube, Sasha and Carson aren't sure. But the experience at the school for the blind reinforced Sasha's ambitions to become a teacher after college. "I can see how much being passionate about something helps a teacher," he says of the time he and Carson spent working on puzzles with the blind students. "When you're patient with your students, and have a genuine passion for what you're teaching, I think that goes a long way."

Photos via The Columbian. To read and see more inspiring stories, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

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