If you lived through the 1980’s, you might remember the Rubik’s Cube. Each side of this puzzle contains nine squares in six different colors. The goal is to twist the layers of the cube until each face is a solid color. It has stumped millions of people, but not Waunakee’s Joshua Feran. This 18 year old solves a Rubik’s Cube faster than most people run the 100 yard dash.
“Well it usually takes me about nine to 11 seconds to solve it, but my best is 7.06 seconds,” Feran said.
Feran says he first picked up a Rubik’s Cube when he was six years old, but didn’t learn how to solve one until he was 11. He soon discovered the world of speedcubing, tournaments held across the country where entrants attempt to solve puzzle cubes the fastest.
Today Feran competes in more than a dozen tournaments a year throughout the United States. Speedcubing competitions include up to 18 different events. His fast fingers have almost conquered them all. Feran has held 11 Wisconsin state cubing records. Events include 2-by-2 cubes to 7-by-7 cubes, blindfolded events and a few non-cubic shaped puzzles. One of Feran’s favorite events is called the “3-by-3 With Feet.” Competitors place a Rubik’s Cube on the ground and attempt to solve it with their toes. Feran can solve a cube with his feet in less than a minute.
“I was originally doing like, over a hundred feet solves a day to try and get faster,” Feran said.
Feran is one of the 10 fastest in the country at “foot solving” a Rubik’s Cube. He’s also one of the fastest in the world at the Rubik’s Clock, a mechanical puzzle with nine clock faces on each side. The goal is to manipulate wheels on the corners of the puzzle to turn each face to 12 o’clock. Feran can solve the Rubik’s Clock in less than six seconds.
Feran says anyone can learn these puzzle solving skills with a simple internet search.
“Really just looking it up on YouTube is pretty much the best. That’s how I learned,” Feran said, “That’s how a lot of people learn. The best solvers in the world learn on YouTube originally.”
It eventually inspired him to create his own YouTube channel.
“I’ve always been interested in film, even before the Rubik’s Cube,” Feran said, “When I started getting into the Rubik’s Cube I naturally wanted to make videos about it.”
Feran’s YouTube channel has more than 1 million hits. He’s used it to review cubes and show off his speedcubing skills. The channel’s success has landed Feran endorsement deals from cube companies. In 2013, he was a guest on ABC’s Good Morning America. Despite his dexterous digits, Feran says a cubing career isn’t in the cards.
“I make some money doing it, but not enough that it would warrant having this over a well-paying job,” Feran said.
For now, Feran’s plan is to attend film school. Meanwhile, he’s happy letting this 1980’s relic open doors for him while making plenty of new friends along the way.
Joshua Feran conquered the traditional Rubik’s Cube, so to challenge himself, he built his own puzzle.