Unlike Kreuger's, however, my STP lacks even the slightest hint of an intended end-configuration (goal). The goal is up to the user to decide -- either in advance or as the patterns unfold.
This open-endedness frees the STP to serve as a mechanical binary drawing pad.
∨ The patterns in the sequence below suggested themselves to me in the order shown. Most are pretty simple but give a sense of the range of patterns one can create with an 8x8 binary grid. It took me 5-10 minutes to get from one to the next. Sorry for all the smudges.
∧ The last pattern above is the newly adopted name of the AFOL formerly known as Jeremy McCreary. Rather catchy, don't you think?
∧ Side view shows the thickness and part of the display stand.
∧ Kreuger's video shows how to build 3-layer STP tiles and an enclosing frame but leaves out one important detail: The 1x1x1 gap shown in this particular corner of the frame provides a place for the guide tabs (middle tile layer) to go when a tile occupies this corner of the grid.
The most common STP of all is undoubtedly the 4x4 15-puzzle with 15 sequentially numbered tiles and a single void. Puzzlaholic posted a nice one here on MOCpages.
Of course, there's nothing magic about a 4x4 grid, a single void, numbered tiles, marked tiles, or even square tiles for that matter.
For example, Kreuger's STP is the pictorial equivalent of a 15-puzzle. Each tile is marked with a distinct fragment of the Vayamenda Industries logo he uses to brand his MOCs. One unscrambles the logo by arranging all 15 tiles in a sequence every bit as specific as putting 15 differently numbered tiles in numerical order.
The 8x8 STP posted by Nils O., on the other hand, uses 32 red, 18 yellow, and 13 black tiles, all unmarked. Though many others are possible with this tile set, the goal Nils had in mind was a mosaic depicting the face of a "classic LEGOŽ spaceman". The solution isn't quite as specific as that of a 15-puzzle in that any tile can substitute for any other tile of the same color without altering the mosaic.
∧ My 2-color 8x8 STP is even simpler. The user can form any 8x8 binary grid he or she likes with the 32 white and 31 black unmarked tiles provided.
When the single void is viewed as another black tile, this STP provides 40,296 more distinct patterns than a 15-puzzle. Granted, many of the added configurations would be too random-looking to visualize, let alone remember, but many others would be useable.
The chosen design reflects 2 influences already banging around in my head when I stumbled onto Kreuger's STP.
∧ First, we'd just completed a 6-month renovation involving, among other things, a bathroom tiled in my favorite color combination -- black and white. (Because that bathroom now has the best lighting in the house, most of my MOCs were photographed there.)
∧ Second, in-laws were due to descend on our house in 2 weeks, and I desperately needed a way to keep them entertained.
The open-endedness turned out to be the key to keeping at least one of the in-laws occupied. Every time she'd complete one pattern, another would suggest itself, and off she'd go again.
Luckily, that was all I needed. When we weren't out and about, the rest of the in-laws were quite content to bury their noses in their smartphones and iPads.
Isn't technology wonderful?
144x144x19 mm (LxWxH), excluding stand
0.250 kg (0.55 lb), excluding stand
Binary by color
Distinct puzzle states:
40,296 more than a 4x4 binary
Modified LEGOŽ parts:
Peer Krueger for sliding tile mechanism; otherwise, original MOC
Quoting matt rowntRee
Cool! Made to entertain the in-laws, eh? Would it be possible to hook it up to a wall socket? Maybe while they're taking a bath in the beautifully renovated tub? I'm just asking for a friend. XD
Geez, why didn't I think of that? As soon as I figure out how to make the appropriate parts good conductors, consider it done.