in partnership
The Cube .jpg
(Image: Carson Mowrer)

Vancouver, WA teens create a Rubik's Cube for the visually impaired

Carson Mowrer and Sasha Thomas have been friends since the first grade. Both high school seniors in Vancouver, WA - they share a love of science, technology and music.

But that's not all. They both share a passion for the Rubik's Cube.

"On average, we can both solve a traditional cube in 15-20 seconds," said Mowrer. Thomas’ absolute fastest time solving the cube is 13 seconds, while Mowrer's is 10.83 seconds.

Fun Fact: the world record is 4.69 seconds, which was set by a 15-year-old in September, according to Guinness World Records. Mind blown!

These guys are so into it, they've produced online tutorials on how to complete the cube - and have even participated in speed-solving competitions.

But something was bothering Mowrer and Thomas. Solving this puzzle, something that brought them so much joy, was not something that everyone could physically do. This was top-of-mind in the Thomas house, as Sasha's father works with visually impaired military vets.

It gave the high-schoolers the idea of a Rubik's Cube for the blind. Working with Thomas' father, the friends replaced the colored squares with various textures - therefore making a cube that would be solved by touch, rather than sight.

They tested their new product at the Washington School for the Blind, where Carson said they received rave reviews.

"The students absolutely loved it!" he said. "Some of them said it helped them feel more independent and included."

They tested the cube two different ways. The first time, they placed the textures directly on the original colored sides. The second time, they blacked out all the colors before adding the textures. Some partially sighted students said they preferred to have the colors showing to help them solve it.

The cubes they created are not available for purchase...yet. But we don't doubt they're going to make moves in their individual careers!

"Neither of us have picked a college," said Mowrer. "But I'll be studying structural engineering and Sasha will be studying math".

These two are smart, kind and driven. Great job!