A software developer from Kansas has developed a robot that can seemingly solve a Rubik's Cube in nigh on one second. Jay Flatland and his friend Paul Rose use a setup that includes a Linux-powered PC, an Arduino, webcams and stepper motors. They are targeting a world record.
Flatland demonstrates the robot in a YouTube video released earlier this month, which appears to show the solving a Rubik's Cube in as little as 1.047 seconds. The current manual record for solving a Rubik's Cube, is 4.9 seconds and was set by 14-year-old Lucas Etter from Kentucky, US, in November last year. The current fastest time for a robot, meanwhile, is 2.39 seconds (also set last November), which Flatland and Rose look poised to beat convincingly.
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Flatland and Rose's robot employs six stepper motors, each with their own drivers. Flatland explains that an Arduino controls "highly tuned" acceleration and deceleration curves for the stepper motors.
The stepper motors rest in a 3D-printed frame and have 3D-printed feet on the end, which slot into sinkholes drilled around the center square of a Rubik's Cube. Other than these holes, the 3x3 Rubik's Cube is said to be unmodified.
Four USB webcams are used to help determine the state of the cube. The camera data is fed into software running on a Linux PC that determines the cube-state and this, in turn, is relayed to the Kociemba Rubik's Cube solving algorithm. The algorithm then determines a set of moves to solve the Rubik's Cube and the instructions are sent to the stepper motors.
Flatland says he and Rose have applied for an official world record and has tweeted that an attempt is lined up for February 5. Gizmag has reached out for more info, but has yet to hear back.
In the video below, Flatland demonstrates and details the robot.