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This contraption can solve a Rubik's Cube in 0.38 seconds

By Shawn Knight ยท 6 replies
Mar 7, 2018
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  1. Engineers have been using robots to solve Rubik’s Cubes for years. What was once thought to be a quick solve less than a decade ago – around 10 seconds – is laughable by today’s standards. Allow me to illustrate.

    Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo recently crafted a machine capable of solving the 3D combination puzzle in a mere 0.38 seconds. Unlike some other attempts you may have seen, this isn’t just the amount of time it takes for the contraption to physically implement a solution but also includes the time it takes for the system’s cameras – two PlayStation Eye cameras – to scan the cube and the processor to work out the correct number of turns.

    For reference, the current world record is 0.637 seconds… or I guess you could say, that was the record.

    The first thought that crossed my mind when I saw the full-speed solve was that it was fake. But, as you’ll see, the duo slowed down the footage using a high-speed camera to reveal all the moves that take place in that 0.38-second window. Very impressive.

    Katz and Di Carlo say the contraption can definitely go faster but the tweaking process is really time-consuming and they’ve lost interest in doing so. If they revisit the project, there’s a real possibility they could shave off another 100ms or so.

    PS: Here's what happens when things don't go according to plan.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2018
  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,122   +2,545

    What is the point?

    Today's computer can calculate the perfect assembly scenario in under 1ms, while the physical assembly is limited by the friction forces of the cube, exceed it and the cube will overheat and disintegrate.
  3. Silvernine

    Silvernine TS Enthusiast Posts: 35   +27

    Because it's fun to not only to solve the solution to the Rubik's cube software-wise but to also design a physical system that can then execute the steps to the solution without blowing it up?
    JamesSWD, dms96960 and wiyosaya like this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,425   +2,885

    Saw that one awhile back but it was slower, around 2.5 seconds ..... Kind of defeats the purpose if you're on your way to Mars and need to kill some time .......
    senketsu likes this.
  5. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,070   +1,548

    A few years back, a mechanical system that could execute a solution so quickly would have been nearly impossible. IMO, it is an amazing feat that is not easy to do.
    Lionvibez and dms96960 like this.
  6. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 243   +143

    If one wants to fake this, just make the machine record the steps mixing it up, and then play it back to solve instantly. No AI required.
  7. TheBigT42

    TheBigT42 TS Maniac Posts: 281   +167

    The only way I ever solved the Cube was with a screw driver

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