And just like that, we have a new world record!
With their eyes set on the Guinness Book, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose last month unveiled an automated machine capable of solving a Rubik’s Cube in 0.9 seconds. However, their glory was short-lived as fellow Maker and industrial engineer Adam Beer introduced a robotic contender, named Sub1, that has officially sorted the colorful puzzle in only 0.887 seconds — breaking the previous world record by a mere fraction.
Beer’s machine only requires 20 moves to unravel the cube. As soon as the start button is hit, shutters are removed from Sub1’s two webcams, each of which capture the arrangement of all six sides. These images are then relayed to a laptop, which identify the various colors and calculate a solution using Tomas Rokicki’s implementation of Herbert Kociemba’s Two-Phase Algorithm.
The solution is sent over to an Arduino-compatible MCU, which is tasked with actuating the 20 moves of six high-performance steppers that rapidly turn each side of the cube in 887 milliseconds.
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.
Rubik’s Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik.
Originally dubbed the Magic Cube, the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp in 1980. According to Wikipedia, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide as of January 2009 – making it the world’s top-selling puzzle game.
Recently, a Maker by the name of matt2uy designed an Arduino-based Rubik’s Cube ‘bot based on the famed Tilted Twister design by Hans Andersson.
On the software side, matt2uy leverages the Arduino IDE, Python 2.7+, Tkinter (GUI) and Pyserial.
The result? A DIY Rubik’s Cube ‘bot that takes 20 minutes to enter the cube state and solve.
“Wiring up the servos to the Arduino [is] pretty simple. Connect the yellow (signal) wires for the push and rotation servo to pin 6 and 9, respectively,” he explained in a recent Instructables post.
“Connect the positive and negative wires to the 5v power source and ground. Sometimes the servos had jitters, so I think capacitors could have smoothed out the signals.”
Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.
Javier Lloret’s Puzzle Facade is designed to control the lights of a rainbow-hued building located in Linz, Austria.
The white 3D-printed device is packed with a series of electronic components – including an Atmel-based Arduino board and a bluetooth modem – to help configure the large-scale brights placed on the Ars Electronica Center.
According to the project’s official page, Puzzle Facade was created with the intent of bringing the experience of solving a Rubik’s cube to the urban space. As noted above, the platform essentially transforms Ars Electronica’s facade into a giant Rubik’s Cube.
More specifically, when a player interacts with the specially designed cube, the device tracks its orientation, as well as the rotations of each side. This data is sent via Bluetooth to a PC tasked with altering the lights and color of the building’s facade based on input received from the device.
Due to the nature of this building and its surroundings, the player is only able to see two sides at the same time. This factor increases the difficulty of solving the puzzle, although the player is still able to rotate and flip the interface-cube.
Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.