The prototype

Things that can break, usually break, and then a part gets lost and never be found again.

Like most people in our time, I work a lot on digital platforms, but freehand lines and drawings always help in the creation, especially at the beginning of the design process. During the drawing, the model began to look more and more like a Hoberman ball but included the axes and other unique features that are already characteristic of the LavosBall. Then, little by little, the details have developed slowly, and based on these I was able to start manufacturing the first parts.

With 3D print technology, I created really interesting elements, but they were quite ephemeral. I didn’t know what material should be used nor the criteria it would have to meet. 3D printing is a separate profession, it's not advised jumping into it light-headedly since it will only be a slap in the face. To produce a good quality print, one needs the right raw material and a skilled professional. Producing these trial items can cost a lot of money, it was a beginner mistake I made.

The first 3D prints, as I didn’t yet know exactly what material they should be made of, were quite fragile. I gave it to others to try it out, and play with the Ball. Many times it jumped out of their hands and it broke from the drop.

One of my colleagues was the first to hold the ball, for the first time and even dropped it amid a big scream. The ball, of course, shattered. She came to me in shock, that he had ruined it. I tried to comfort her that there was nothing to ruin because these first experimental pieces were created for testing, but she was still sad that day.

When the prototype of a new product will be officially presented, i.e. the experimental model, and it will be claimed as the first piece to be completed, that is probably the twentieth copy. The previous nineteen predecessors lay somewhere in ruins, drilled, punched, cut, fragmented on the creator’s battlefield, unrecognizably. I saved every experimental specimen, but they don’t look like anything. If posterity found these ruins, there would be little chance of anyone recognizing the LavosBall in them.

The first models hold information only for the creator, especially about what and how not to do. Edison's three thousand experiments with the light bulb were, in fact, nothing more than three thousand attempts at what would not make a light bulb. The more the elements began to take final shape, the more playable the ball became. I could barely rotate the first pieces properly, every move was like breaking off parts of it. After a while it became handy, the discs could be turned and finally, it always opened nicely and closed back. Thanks to the long experimentation, in August 2017, on a wonderful, sunny afternoon, I had a working and colorful piece in my hands.

Well, it’s also a good story, how to pick colors for your prototype! ‘‘ As we know, black and white are not colors ’,” I recalled the words of my former university color teacher. ThusI tried to avoid these and pick from the rest. I was lucky because I was still learning about color circles, based on that, I also selected the eight colors. Segwaying back to the sunny afternoon, the ball assembled from the colored elements, was already moving, turning, opening and closing, meaning it was starting to look like an actual game. Eureka!

I even started playing with it.

At that time, firstly I mixed it up and tried to solve it. Not only did it fill my heart with happiness to be able to take the first LavosBall in my hand but the fact that the creating process now accomplished something that raised a lot of questions and an interesting thought in my mind, that I couldn’t dismiss.

I’m going to solve this game for the first time in the world. Of course, I mixed it up first, but that wasn’t too much of a task. And the thought was that I can’t ask for any help with this, I can’t find a tutorial video on YouTube, and I can’t discuss the steps of the puzzle with anyone. It took me hardly 45 minutes to solve it for the first time. I enjoyed it and I was also proud of myself. I shuffled and solved it again and again. Over and over again, I realized that the process of solving contained a trap, a position that can’t be solved only if one went back almost to the beginning. It occurred to me that if I shuffled from a jumbled state, I would need to be able to solve it again because logic dictates that. I asked myself the question of whether there could be such that the solved and then mixed elements could not come together again as in the way before the mixing. If anyone knows about this please let me know!

My time of solving it decreased to approximately five minutes and I was starting to get pretty confident with it. It was then that my 18-year-old daughter visited my office. As soon as she arrived I pressed LavosBall into her hand without any comment.  I consider her a sensible child and perhaps her thinking is not that far from mine and probably that is the reason that it took less than half an hour to solve the puzzle, although I admit I didn’t look at the watch since I was so tied up watching her how she solved it. I concluded that it is faster and easier for younger people, as well as those who already have a puzzle routine with the Rubik's Cube, to solve the LavosBall. The puzzle itself is not a vicious thing, its difficulty level is somewhere between the 2x2 (Pocket Cube) and the 3x3 (Magic Cube) Rubik's Cube

No matter how many people I showed the LavosBall to, the following steps took place.

At first, when they just see in my hands as I turn it and they are quite indifferent to state that ‘‘ yeah, it’s like a Rubik’s Cube, I know ... ’’. 

Of course, there is great truth in this, as the cube was one of my important inspirations.

I could best compare the second reaction to the amazement after a  great magic trick. This usually happens when, by pressing the centers, the ball turns and closes back into itself, showing the other side and its colors. That is what I call the Lavos movement.

Everyone who sees it experiences the same, curiosity and determined interest glows up in their eyes. ‘How did you do that?’ - the question comes up every time. ‘‘ Do it one more time, do it again! ’’ At that moment, their gaze gets stuck on the ball and no matter how many times I turn it around, every time I twist it, they no longer can take their eyes off it.

The third reaction is a consequence of the second. As soon as I put it on my palm and reach the LavosBall towards them, they want to try it right away. At first, they don't dare to press it, they just rotate it. By then I can say anything about the ball, but they don’t even pay attention to me. They say they won’t be able to solve it, but they’d love to try it.

That is the first encounter you will have with the LavosBall.