Lego Robot Beats Human World Record For Solving the Rubik’s Cube!

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cubestormer“Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.”
—Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981

Solving the Rubik’s Cube puzzle popularized in the 1980s is an exercise in futility for many of us, but to a world class “speedcuber” it’s a challenge of mere moments. The current official human record for the Rubik’s cube 3×3 puzzle is just 5.66 seconds. I know a robot that did it in 5.35 seconds. Take, that humanity! (Wait a second…) The puzzle solving bot is called CubeStomer II and you can watch its record breaking run in the video below. Made from Lego, powered by an Android smart phone, and created by two mad geniuses, CubeStormer II has a pedigree that sounds like it came from a children’s cartoon. That’s fitting, because I think the Lego NXT robot is a sure sign that humanity has gone meta. Why waste time on solving trivial puzzles when you can build a robot to waste time solving trivial puzzles for you instead?

CubeStormer II is controlled by four Lego NXT ‘bricks’ that communicate via Bluetooth with a Samsung Galaxy SII smart phone. A special app on the phone takes a picture of the cube, solves the puzzle virtually, and then relays the solution to the Lego robot. From click to finish the whole process takes just seconds. You have to see it to believe it:

Both the NXT bricks and the SII smart phone feature processors made ARM, who commissioned the CubeStormer II and who will be showcasing the Lego robot at ARMTechCon 2011 in Santa Clara next week (Oct 26-27). The real geniuses behind the high speed Rubik’s robot, however, are its creators: Mike Dobson and David Gilday. Dobson built the original CubeStormer early in 2010, while Gilday has constructed several other Rubik’s solving robots that are equally impressive. These Lego lunatics are at the top of their game with the CubeStormer II. Humans competing to solve the Rubik’s Cube get to study it first before their time trial beings. Not only does CubeStormer II beat their puny human records, it doesn’t need to study! Let there be no doubt about it, robots rule Rubik’s.

[screen capture and video credits: ARM]

Discussion — 36 Responses

  • trendsetter37 October 20, 2011 on 7:56 am

    freakin awesome

  • Joe Nickence October 20, 2011 on 9:49 am

    Limited only by the power of their motors and the friction of the cube. There is no longer any challenge to it. These guys want a challenge? Create a successful general purpose household robot… made from Legos. Apply the design to something that can be repaired with off the shelf parts. Upgradeable, interchangable appendages for most tasks. Use Willow Garage’s ROS. And I’ll guarantee that within two years they’ll corner the market and make billions.

    • Joe Nickence Joe Nickence October 20, 2011 on 9:53 am

      Or better yet, if not ROS, something from Google’s stable. The OS should be something that can be updated from the web. Android should be just as flexible as ROS.

  • jhfksjfh October 20, 2011 on 4:12 pm

    This was my senior design project over 25 years ago in engineering school. Are we still screwing with this??

  • Commander Blop October 21, 2011 on 8:25 pm

    Been there, done that 26 years ago (albeit not as fast) with optical transistors, an algorithm from pc mag and a crappy machine built by my Uni’s machine shop . Don’t these guys have anything better to do?

  • vikky2904 May 6, 2012 on 1:31 am

    Could you please tell what is the algorithm used to solve the cube?