This Robot Can Solve a Rubik’s Cube in 0.38 Seconds | News & Opinion


The robot can potentially solve the puzzle at an even faster time if fine-tuned.

Rubik's Cube Solving Bot

Two engineers have built a robot that can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 0.38 seconds or about in the blink of an eye.

Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo at MIT developed the robot and posted video of the feat on Wednesday. With the help of six motor-powered rods, the bot can almost instantly rearrange and solve the cube.

Another machine from Germany was the previous record holder at 0.637 seconds, which was set back in 2016. However, Katz and Di Carlo managed to almost halve that time by coming up with a slicker motor-powered system.

“We noticed that all of the fast Rubik’s Cube solvers were using stepper motors, and thought that we could do better if we used better motors,” Di Carlo wrote in a blog post.

So to power their own bot, the engineers chose servo motors, which can move at higher speeds over stepper motors, but at the cost of being more mechanically complex and expensive.

The bet on the servo motors paid off. Their own robot can rotate a face of a Rubik’s Cube in about 15 milliseconds. To actually solve the puzzle, the machine will read the colored faces on the cube with the help of two web cameras originally built for Sony’s Playstation 3. The images are then sent to a computer, which can control the motors to solve the puzzle.

To be clear, the team’s project didn’t actually use an official Rubik’s Cube, but a knockoff version bought from Amazon. “We used the cheapest cube we could find on Amazon Prime because we thought we’d end up destroying many of them,” Di Carlo wrote.

Nevertheless, the engineers say their robot can solve a Rubik’s Cube at an even faster rate if the machine is better fine-tuned.

“For the time being, Jared and I have both lost interest in playing the tuning game, but we might come back to it eventually and shave off another 100 ms or so,” Katz wrote in his own blog post.

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