Exchange and lecture of Oskar

and exchange of Peter Hajek

from IPP 21, Tokyo 2001


Rising Sun Puzzle

Exchange of Peter Hajek, Oskar Blocks


Mechanical Mazes

By M. Oskar van Deventer

Presented at IPP Tokyo, 11 August 2001

My fascination with mechanical mazes started when Edward Hordern
showed me the Cooksey cylinder. This puzzle had a pin moving up and
down through a pattern of holes. Though not explicitly visible, the puzzle
operates like a maze. I have used various principles to develop mechanical
mazes, like parity-changes, linked-gear shapes, C-shapes, fractal patterns
and, inspired by Yoshiyuki Kotani and Adrian Fisher, shapes that can only
turn in one direction. Many materials were used, like cardboard, plastic and
wood, but also liquid, velcro, ballpoint mechanisms, electronics and electro-mechanics. Gravity was used in tilt mazes, inspired by Andrea Gilbert, see Some of the mechanical mazes have multiple
challenges. Some have two runners that have to collaborate to solve the maze.

Figure 1 shows a selection of my mechanical maze designs (except Cooksey's),
and the different principles used to develop them. A few are commercially available, but most of them are single prototypes.

Figure 1: Mechanical Maze Tour