There’s a new arms race going on in the world, and this one involves robots. Much less high-stakes and far more entertaining than the Cold War, this supercharged and super-fast competition involves a bunch of robot makers and a bunch of Rubik’s cubes. The goal? The fastest time. The prize? Eternal pride.
Just last month, we told you about a robot that managed to solve a Rubik’s cube in less than a second, a feat that is already pretty damn impressive. But in today’s world, records are broken every day, and it looks like the bot created by software engineers Jay Flatland and Paul Rose already has some serious competition.
Another machine called the Sub1, the product of industrial engineer and economist Adam Beer, is apparently in contention for the title of fastest Rubik’s cube solver. In fact, Beer claims that the Sub1 actually managed to crash through the 1 second barrier before Flatland and Rose did, though that claim has yet to be verified.
Regardless of who got under 1 second first, Beer is now laying claim to the more important achievement — the fastest solution. While the previous record stood at 0.9 seconds, Beer’s Sub1 has managed to squeeze in a time just 0.003 seconds faster at 0.887 seconds. The most impressive part? The robot managed to make 20 moves in that time.
According to Beer, Sub1 used a World Cube Association-conform modified speed cube that was randomly scrambled by a computer array, then placed in ready position for the robot. Like Flatland and Rose’s robot, Sub1 then analyzed the sides of the cube with two webcams, and subsequently created a solution using “Tomas Rokicki’s implementation of Herbert Kociemba’s two-phase algorithm.”
Then, the solution was sent to an Arduino-compatible microcontroller board that launched six extremely high-performance steppers into lightning-fast motion. And just under 0.9 seconds later, Beer says he had a new world record.
To be fair, the folks over at the Guinness Book of World Records have yet to verify this claim, but Beer says he is in the process of preparing his submission for official review. But who knows — maybe someone else will have gotten faster by the time all the paperwork is in place.
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