Students at Swinburne University of Technology are claiming they have developed the world's fastest Rubik's Cube-solving robot. The robot, named Ruby, can solve the scrambled puzzle in just over 10 seconds (the video embedded below shows 10.18 seconds, while another attempt shows 10.69 seconds) including the time taken to scan the initial status of the cube. The robot will be on show at Swinburne's Open Day on August 21, 2011.
Ruby was built from scratch by six students as their final year project for the double degree in Bachelor of Engineering (Robotics and Mechatronics)/Bachelor of Science (Computer Science and Software Engineering). The team comprised of identical twins David and Richard Bain, Daniel Purvis, Jarrod Boyes, Miriam Parkinson, and Jonathan Goldwasser.
"Ruby works by scanning each face of a scrambled cube through a web cam," Professor Chris Pilgrim, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies, said in a statement. "It then uses a software algorithm to develop a solution which is fed to the high-speed robot through a real-time embedded control system. The students' combined expertise in robotics and software engineering enabled them to construct a robot with a fast computer vision-tracking system capable of very high precision movements and timings."
The ~10 second record is still unofficial. The students are applying to have Ruby's Rubik's-solving skill recognized by Guinness World Records. As at October 2010, the world's fastest Rubik's Cube solving robot, the Cubinator, was able to solve a scrambled Rubik's Cube in 18.2 seconds.
Even if the record is approved, robots still have quite a bit to go to beat their creators. The current human world record for single time on a 3×3×3 Rubik's Cube is held by Feliks Zemdegs who had a best time of 6.24 seconds at the Kubaroo Open 2011. Here's a video of that feat:
I've solved a Rubik's Cube twice in my life, and both times were a combination of very basic skill and a little bit of luck. Can you say you've done better?