Tiling puzzle

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Tiling puzzles are puzzles involving two-dimensional packing problems in which a number of flat shapes have to be assembled into a larger given shape without overlaps (and often without gaps). Some tiling puzzles ask you to dissect a given shape first and then rearrange the pieces into another shape. Other tiling puzzles ask you to dissect a given shape while fulfilling certain conditions. The two latter types of tiling puzzles are also called dissection puzzles.

Tiling puzzles may be made from wood, metal, cardboard, plastic or any other sheet-material. Many tiling puzzles are now available as computer games.

Tiling puzzles have a long history. Some of the oldest and most famous are jigsaw puzzles and the tangram puzzle.

Example of a tiling puzzle that utilizes negative space. Chinese Sunset.jpg
Example of a tiling puzzle that utilizes negative space.

Other examples of tiling puzzles include:

Many three-dimensional mechanical puzzles can be regarded as three-dimensional tiling puzzles.

See also

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Squaring the square

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Rectangle Quadrilateral with four right angles

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Jigsaw puzzle Type of tiling puzzle

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Packing problems Problems which attempt to find the most efficient way to pack objects into containers

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Tessellation Tiling of a plane in mathematics

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A dissection puzzle, also called a transformation puzzle or Richter Puzzle, is a tiling puzzle where a set of pieces can be assembled in different ways to produce two or more distinct geometric shapes. The creation of new dissection puzzles is also considered to be a type of dissection puzzle. Puzzles may include various restraints, such as hinged pieces, pieces that can fold, or pieces that can twist. Creators of new dissection puzzles emphasize using a minimum number of pieces, or creating novel situations, such as ensuring that every piece connects to another with a hinge.

Sliding puzzle Puzzle game involving sliding pieces to achieve certain configurations

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In geometry, a dissection problem is the problem of partitioning a geometric figure into smaller pieces that may be rearranged into a new figure of equal content. In this context, the partitioning is called simply a dissection. It is usually required that the dissection use only a finite number of pieces. Additionally, to avoid set-theoretic issues related to the Banach–Tarski paradox and Tarski's circle-squaring problem, the pieces are typically required to be well-behaved. For instance, they may be restricted to being the closures of disjoint open sets.

In geometry, a tile substitution is a method for constructing highly ordered tilings. Most importantly, some tile substitutions generate aperiodic tilings, which are tilings whose prototiles do not admit any tiling with translational symmetry. The most famous of these are the Penrose tilings. Substitution tilings are special cases of finite subdivision rules, which do not require the tiles to be geometrically rigid.

Rep-tile Shape subdivided into copies of itself

In the geometry of tessellations, a rep-tile or reptile is a shape that can be dissected into smaller copies of the same shape. The term was coined as a pun on animal reptiles by recreational mathematician Solomon W. Golomb and popularized by Martin Gardner in his "Mathematical Games" column in the May 1963 issue of Scientific American. In 2012 a generalization of rep-tiles called self-tiling tile sets was introduced by Lee Sallows in Mathematics Magazine.

Equidissection Partition of a polygon into triangles of equal area

In geometry, an equidissection is a partition of a polygon into triangles of equal area. The study of equidissections began in the late 1960s with Monsky's theorem, which states that a square cannot be equidissected into an odd number of triangles. In fact, most polygons cannot be equidissected at all.

Aperiodic set of prototiles

A set of prototiles is aperiodic if copies of the prototiles can be assembled to create tilings, such that all possible tessellation patterns are non-periodic. The aperiodicity referred to is a property of the particular set of prototiles; the various resulting tilings themselves are just non-periodic.

Self-tiling tile set

A self-tiling tile set, or setiset, of order n is a set of n shapes or pieces, usually planar, each of which can be tiled with smaller replicas of the complete set of n shapes. That is, the n shapes can be assembled in n different ways so as to create larger copies of themselves, where the increase in scale is the same in each case. Figure 1 shows an example for n = 4 using distinctly shaped decominoes. The concept can be extended to include pieces of higher dimension. The name setisets was coined by Lee Sallows in 2012, but the problem of finding such sets for n = 4 was asked decades previously by C. Dudley Langford, and examples for polyaboloes and polyominoes were previously published by Gardner.

In geometry, it is an unsolved conjecture of Hugo Hadwiger that every simplex can be dissected into orthoschemes, using a number of orthoschemes bounded by a function of the dimension of the simplex. If true, then more generally every convex polytope could be dissected into orthoschemes.