There are some tasks to which robots and AI are far inferior to humans. We focus on these skills because they separate us from the machines. And when a computer masters one of them, it amazes. But other tasks are, frankly, suited perfectly for machines.
Solving a Rubik’s Cube is one of them.
We’ve been following robots solving Rubik’s Cubes for years. Most of them were Lego Mindstorms bots—the same basic gear has been used to build robots that fold paper airplanes, serve beer, and make pancakes. The Cubestormer series of Rubik’s Cube solving robots first beat the human record (at the time) back in 2011. Cubestormer 3 beat its own record last year, posting a blistering time of 3.253 seconds.
While human speedcubers haven’t been sitting on their hands—the most recent record, set by 14-year-old Kentuckian Lucas Etter, is an incomprehensible 4.90 seconds—the bots are still ahead. And a new contender recently hit the scene.
A robot built by Florida student Zackary Gromko can solve a Rubik’s Cube in just 2.39 seconds, a new Guinness World Record. After the cube has been scrambled, Gromko’s bot uses two cameras to survey its sides, a computer calculates the solution based on what it sees—then, in a blur, the robot’s six motored arms rotate the cube’s faces into position.
Why build a Rubik’s Cube solving robot?
“I have done it purely because this is what I love to do,” Gromko said. And, he said, he was too slow at solving a Rubik’s Cube—so why not build a machine that could do it better? We’re all for it. Check out Gromko’s Rubik’s Cube robot in action.
Image Credit: Guinness World Records/YouTube