This Arduino-driven robot will unfix a Rubik’s Cube before you could even finish reading this sentence.
Last November, 14-year-old Lucas Etter set a new world record for the fastest time to solve a Rubik’s Cube, becoming the first person to ever break the five-second barrier for unravel the iconic 3 x 3 x 3 puzzle. As impressive as that may be, nothing may compare to this duo’s latest project. That’s because software engineers Jay Flatland and Paul Rose have devised an automated mechanism that can crack it in just over a second.
With an Atmel chip at its heart, the system is comprised of stepper motors, some 3D-printed parts and four webcams all connected to a Linux-based computer. The software engineers used the Kociemba algorithm to solve the puzzle, and have modified the Rubik’s Cube by drilling four holes into the middle of each of its six sides so the robot could manipulate it. Since the robot needs the cameras in order to function, the webcams are covered with a piece of paper until the cube is properly scrambled.
The team is now in the process of applying for the Guinness World Record. Pending all goes to plan, the robot will crush the current record holder’s time of 3.253 seconds.
A Maker duo created a Rubik’s Cube-solving robot using recycled FAC system parts, a Raspberry Pi Compute Module and an Arduino Mini.
Solving a Rubik’s Cube is no easy feat. In fact, for a vast majority of folks, it’s a downright daunting task. But what if there was an automated mechanism that could do it for you? That’s exactly what the duo of Maxim Tsoy and Wilbert Swinkels has developed. Inspired by other DIY cube solvers comprised of LEGO and Fischertechnik, the Makers brought their creation to life using antiquated FAC-System parts — a modular system developed back in the early 1950s.
At the heart of the machine lies a Raspberry Pi Compute Module along with Arduino Mini. The Compute Module actuates a series of motors and grippers, while also running a two-phase algorithm from Herbert Kociemba. Aside from that, the ATmega328 board was employed to control an LDR-based scanner which consists of three modified ColorPAL sensors. The data is sent to the Arduino and based on the incoming set of information, the program begins computing how to solve the cube and relays commands to the motors.
“It turned out to be very easy to connect Arduino to Raspberry and make them work together,” the Makers reveal. This called for nothing more than two wires and a level converter from SparkFun.
The entire system is mounted onto an MDF base, which houses all of the electronic components. It should be pointed out that, at first, an Arduino was implemented as the brains of the entire operation. However, the Makers realized that an RPi would be a much better suitor for the job. After all, the sophisticated cube solving algorithms required quite a bit of memory — more than the Arduino could provide.
Pretty cool, right? See it in action below, and check out the project’s elaborate overview here.