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What is it?

Code World is a colorful mystery. It is a toy, a scientific tool, an intellectual achievement, a work of art, a puzzle, a game, a working model of the information in the genetic code - it is several ounces of handsome molded plastic, springs and bearings. Code World is something worth having.

But seriously.

Code World is a symmetry tool with two parts - the globe and the glider. These two parts are decorated with colors and shapes to logically break symmetries in the five geometric objects known as regular, perfect or platonic solids.

These patterns create spatial information that can be mechanically processed. The simplest observation of the two parts and their patterns is that the glider must always match a subset of the globe, and physical boundaries guide consecutive matches like logic circuits between the two.

It is apparent that the glider is a tetrahedron and the globe is a dodecahedron. However, the spatial patterns of each can also be seen as subsets of any of the regular solids. The glider is the simplest possible representation and the globe is the most complex. In other words, a dodecahedron can decompose at some level into any of the five solids, and a tetrahedron is the root of all their symmetries. Code world provides a graphic and mechanical demonstration of these geometric facts, and it is the first tool to allow dynamic relationships between perfect solids to be explored in hands-on fashion.

At a fundamental level, Code World is a primitive finite state computer, functioning in three dimensions on the logic of perfect symmetry. It is a mechanical information processor able to accept four commands – one for each color of a glider vertex. There are 120 discrete rotational matches, states, or configurations between globe and glider. Therefore, 14,400 sets of any two extended matches are possible, and changing from one to another is known as a transformation. There are vastly many more ways to communicate transformations (puzzles), and an infinite number of paths connecting any two configurations (solutions). Therefore, Code World can effectively process a fantastic amount of information with just two simple parts. An efficient language of shape, color and position has been developed so we humans can communicate this information. It is a programming language, so to speak, printed on playing cards. I call it polyhedrish.

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Last updated September 12, 2003 7:17 AM