Store Subscribe via RSS IconRSS or e-mail About this Site Link To Us Sites We Like
Legal Stuff Privacy Policy

category icon

The Orb Puzzle

Posted by Big Boo on March 2nd, 2009

the orbThe Orb Puzzle came out in the early 1980’s riding on the popularity wave of the Rubik’s Cube, though I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you’ve never heard of it before.  The Orb was the puzzles US name, but in the UK it was also known as Orb-It.

It consists of a silver plastic sphere that has four rings of coloured beads running parallel to each other.  The top ring contains eight blue beads, the next twenty green beads, the next ring twenty red beads and the bottom ring eight orange beads.  The beads can be pushed around the channel of the ring.

So far not very puzzling!  However the ball is split in two, and the two hemispheres rotate through 45 degree increments.  This has the effect of joining the rings together into either a single continuous ring that snakes its way around the sphere (as pictured), or two individual loops, thus allowing the beads to be mixed up.  Obviously your task is to get the beads back into their original configuration.

I was given an Orb by some relatives who went on holiday to America and bought me one back as a gift, and I personally think I prefer it as a puzzle to the Rubik’s Cube.  Whilst it could be difficult to get the beads to run freely when the sphere was in the never ending chain configuration, the puzzle itself was a bit easier to solve than the Rubik’s Cube, which meant it was less likely to be retired to the back of the cupboard in a muddled up state.

If you have one of these knocking about and want a solution to get it all nicely organised again then pay a visit to Jaap’s Puzzle Pages, which has details on loads of puzzles beside the Orb.