This strange and baffling puzzle came to me courtesy of James Dalgety during the IPP34 Puzzle Exchange in London last year. James owns the largest known collection of puzzles in the world!
I had played with the Dot Box on and off for several weeks now and was only just able to solve it this evening. That being said, it was solved more through trial and error with hints from James' webpage dedicated to the Dot Box (Warning; spoilers therein)
The Dot Box consists of a pentagonal box which sits into a base (called a plinth). The puzzle is 3D printed in ABS resin by Simon Bexfield and Steve Nicolls, the duo from Threedy 3D Printers. Quality is very good for a 3D creation and everything fits well together.
There are four challenges indicated on the puzzle:-
1. Open the box
2. Close the box
3. Understand it
4. Explain it.
My early attempts without resorting to the hints was to try to decipher the rattling noises inside the box. Couldn't really tell what was going on inside but the plinth and box were attracted to each other so I knew that there had to be some magnet(s) inside.
For the weeks that followed, I tried various means of opening but nothing work. All along I thought the magnets had something to do with the solve and tried to interact the plinth and the box but this was not to be the case. Eventually I went to the website for clues.
I somehow finally managed to solve challenge #1 (through my own unorthodox method), #2 and #3 (after looking at the hints and after the puzzle was opened). And well, sort of #4, although I still can't quite figure out the scientific basis of the solution. The "trick" used in the Dot Box is the first time I have come across. And I can't really explain it or understand fully how it works.
James mentions on his site that the full solution (and explanation) will only appear when the IPP34 booklet is out, which is probably the end of this year or early next year, so I guess I will have to wait until then.
For those that have solved or not solved the Dot Box, please feel free to leave your comments!