US inventors build robot able to solve Rubik’s Cube in 0.38 seconds

A pair of inventors from the US have built a robotic machine that can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 0.38 seconds.

Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo’s solver smashed the current world record of 0.637 seconds, set by Albert Beer’s robot Sub1 Reloaded and verified by Guinness World Records in 2017.

It’s almost impossible to pick up in real time, but each 90 degree turn of the cube in that footage takes just 10 milliseconds, with it taking the robot 15 milliseconds in total to complete each move.

For reference, the fastest official time for a human to solve a Rubik’s Cube is 4.69 seconds, set by 15-year-old American Patrick Ponce last year, and Katz says the robot could go even faster.

“For the time being, Jared and I have both lost interest in playing the tuning game,” Katz, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote on his blog.

“But we might come back to it eventually and shave off another 100 milliseconds or so.”

The machine was made using six motors and motor drivers and Playstation Eye cameras – the cameras once used for gaming on the old Playstation 3 console.

The cameras keep track of the configuration of the cube, with the motors creating the movement, which did hit a few snags – in the form of obliterated Rubik’s Cubes – in the creation process.

So how did the pair beat the record so convincingly?

“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 his blog.

“So we did.

“Our solve time of 0.38 seconds includes acquiring the image from the webcam, detecting colours, finding a solution, and actually rotating the faces of the cube.”

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