Robot enters record books for lightning quick Rubik’s Cube solution

A robot recently completed the Rubik’s Cube in about the time it takes a human to make even one turn of the popular puzzle.

The lightning-quick Sub1 Reloaded robot, which was built by engineer Albert Beer using technology from German chipmaker Infineon, completed the Cube in a mere 0.637 seconds at an event toward the end of last year. Guinness World Records has now reviewed all the available evidence and over the weekend officially recognized it as a new record.

The previous record of 0.887 seconds was actually set by an older version of the same robot, suggesting that, despite the efforts of others, the Sub1 has the solving-the-Rubik’s-Cube game utterly sewn up.

In the video above, you can watch the robot complete the Cube in just 21 turns. The clip also shows the feat in slow-motion so you can actually see the robot at work.

What makes the achievement all the more remarkable is that the record includes the time it took Sub1 Reloaded to analyze the position of the stickers at the very start. So the attempt begins when the assistant presses the button, which activates the sensors.

It’s worth noting that the Rubik’s Cube isn’t the precise version we’re all familiar with, because if that were the case we just know it’d jam every couple of rotations. So the team built a so-called “speed cube” that’s able to turn without any issues.

Infineon hopes the achievement of its robot will help highlight the ability and speed of its technology, which it says is ideal for self-driving vehicles.

“The microcontroller can react to events in a very short and deterministic timeframe, which is extremely important in the automotive area,” Infineon’s Peter Schafer told the FT last year.

And yes, humans do have a bit of work to do to catch Sub1 Reloaded. Guinness World Records currently lists Australian student Feliks Zemdegs as the human record holder for solving the Cube in 4.73 seconds. Zemdegs set the record in December, 2016, shaving one hundredth of a second off the previous record, which had been set just five weeks earlier.

Emerging Tech

Tiny microbots fold like origami to travel through the human body

Tiny robots modeled after bacteria could be used to deliver drugs to hard to reach areas of the human body. Scientists have developed elastic microbots that can change their shape depending on their environment.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Emerging Tech

Scientists successfully grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish

Researchers have managed to grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish for the first time, and even to successfully implant them into live mice. The results could be a game-changer for diabetes.
Emerging Tech

Tiny animals discovered in Antarctic lake deep beneath the ice

Scientists have made a surprising discovery in Antarctica: the carcasses of tiny animals including crustaceans and a tardigrade were found in a lake that sits deep beneath over half a mile of Antarctic ice.
Emerging Tech

How long is a day on Saturn? Scientists finally have an answer

The length of Saturn's day has always been a challenge to calculate because of the planet's non-solid surface and magnetic field. But now scientists have tracked vibrations in the rings to pin down a final answer.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!