Around a year ago, a robot called Sub1 solved a Rubik’s Cube in exactly 0.637 seconds, which earned it the world record for the fastest cube-solving robot. However, Sub1 has just been unseated by a pair of engineers that demonstrated a robot capable of solving a Rubik’s Cube in just 0.38 seconds – a near 50% improvement.
Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo are the masterminds behind the “Rubik’s Contraption”, and have posted information about the Rubik’s Cube robot whiz on their blog. The bot uses six Kollmorgen ServoDisc U9-series motors in order to solve the Rubik’s Cube at unheard-of speeds. The world was astounded when Sub1 managed to snag the world record for cube solving, but the Karz and Di Carlo’s achievement with the Rubik’s Contraption is unprecedented.
While speed is important to setting records when it comes to solving a Rubik’s Cube, equally necessary is the intelligence and capability to recognize the patterns and quickly arrive at a solution. The Rubik’s Contraption uses a pair of PlayStation Eye cameras in order to near-instantly analyze and evaluate the most efficient way to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Knowing exactly how to solve the cube from beginning to end is a large part of why the Contraption is able to move so quickly and blow the previous record holder out of the water. Additionally, the robot is designed in a way that ensures only one of the six motors is operating at any time. If two of the motors fire together for just a hundredth of a second, the Rubik’s Contraption will tear the cube apart – driving home the necessity of precision engineering in this incredible feat.
It’s important to recognize that this Rubik’s Cube solving robot has yet to be evaluated by Guinness World Record officials, which means that Sub1 is still the king of the cube at this point in time. If the speed recorded in this video is any indication, however, it’s clear that the Rubik’s Contraption will soon take the throne when it comes to cube speed. Karz and Di Carlos claim that the robot is actually capable of faster speeds than 0.38 seconds, but that it would require more development and troubleshooting that may not be worth it to shave a few fractions of a second off of this already impressive time.
Even without the improvements, the Rubik’s Contraption is still far and away the fastest cube solving robot in the world – at least according to the video. Once the speed is recognized by Guinness, the team behind Sub1 will have to go back to the drawing board if they hope to outplay the impressive achievements of this engineering duo.
Take a look at the video below for a sense of just how fast this robot is capable of solving a Rubik’s Cube. In a practical sense, the difference between the previous record holder and this one may not be noticeable, given that they’re both capable of solving the puzzle in less than a second. Still, it’s an impressive demonstration of what a carefully-engineered robot is capable of and definitely worth the watch.