Robrecht Louage is a puzzle designer from Belgium. His latest design, the 4 Steps Visible Lock, has earned him the Jury Grand Prize at the 31st IPP Puzzle Design Competirion, held last year in Berlin, Germany.
The puzzle is made of acrylic and a material called trespa. There are four steel balls, two for each different size and it measures 11.5cm Length x 6.5cm Width x 2.5cm Height (4.53″x2.56″x0.98″).
The 4 Visual Tricks Puzzle, as it was first called and suggested by its name, consists of four distinct movements that keep a coin well locked inside. Your objective, as you might have guessed by now, is to slide the platform enough, so that it reaches the hole found at the right, to be able to remove the 1 Euro coin.
The beauty of the 4 Steps Visible Lock is that there are actually 5 steps you need to complete, in order to solve it, but the 5th and last one is hidden… And that’s all I can say about this (un)visible step, without spoiling the solution too much.
As you first pick up the puzzle, you’ll notice that the first step is a two-part locking mechanism done by a couple of small steel cylinders, located at the top and bottom of the sliding platform. The intriguing part is that, if you try to get one of the cylinders out of the way, by tilting the puzzle at the opposite direction, the other one falls into place and locks the mechanism again. You have to be patient and come up with a strategy to free both of them, at the same time and get to next step. After you overcome the first part, the three following steps are easier to achieve.
The second step is related to the larger couple of steel balls at the bottom. As you tilt the puzzle to get each ball to their specific spot, they tend to follow each other, because of the nature of the movement you’re trying to do. This is not that hard to achieve though.
The third and fourth steps are similar and are interconnected, as they need to be done at the same time. The two paths are executed by the two smaller steel balls and are easily accomplished.
The tricky part however, besides the first one, where you had the cylinders, is the one that you can’t really see and when you finally solve it, it’s when you realize its whole purpose and use for the actual coin.
After solving the 4 Steps Visible Lock, I can understand the reason why it was awarded the Jury Grand Prize at the 31st IPP. The concept is brilliant and the elegant and attractive design is what makes it so appealing to a puzzle lover.
Availability: To get a copy, you can contact Robrecht Louage by e-mail at “rlouage(at)telenet(dot)be”.