There are books, there are puzzles, and there are books full of puzzles — most of the latter are intended for children. Until now, that is: This is a wooden book where each page consists of a beautiful and extremely difficult puzzle, satisfying more than one of our nerdiest adult fantasies all at once.
There's no way we could truly capture how cool this thing actually is, but we're going to try: The entire thing is a totally physical experience, and finding the solution is a lot harder than you'd think. Creator Brady Whitney, who came up with the book/puzzle for his senior thesis at Iowa State University, had this to say about the Codex Silenda:
“I never was a fan of jigsaw puzzles,” he said. “You get a really cool picture out of the deal, but it doesn’t have that satisfying solution or process to me.” That's why this thing works a little bit differently. "You’re almost working your way backwards from all the different solutions to the problem,” Whitney explained.
This is the Codex Silenda. It's a book made of puzzles, all crafted from more than 100 pieces of laser-cut maple and birchwood.
In order to turn the page, you have to solve each puzzle. In other words, you can't open the second page until you crack the first.
Apparently, Whitney designed the mechanisms inside the puzzle to move along the x- and y-axes so they’d be thin, like the pages of a book.
The book opens with what Whitney calls a “Mechanical Iris." It's a series of levers that you have to figure out, and in the right order, before you can go to the next page.
Some of the puzzles are easier than others — but none of them are a piece of cake.
“Some puzzles have the most simplistic solution but they appear very, very complex,” Whitney said.“You have to see through the enigma of the solution, which requires a shift in perception in order to to solve.”
Whitney originally had a $30,000 goal on Kickstarter to create these, but he's already far surpassed that: So far, the Codex Silenda is backed by over $167,000 and counting.
If you weren't convinced enough already to pledge to this amazing project and get a Codex Silenda of your own, check out the video of the contraption in action below.