Rubik's Cube in 1 second, less time than it takes to say it!

January 27, 2016 | 08:00
Virtuosity leaves no-one indifferent. You Tube is full of examples of this fascination. For some it's on the violin or the guitar, or in front of a microphone, for others in a circus ring or on a diving board or in a sporting arena. And for some it's Rubik's Cube. About a year ago, the record for solving the classic 3x3 cube for a human was under 5 seconds. Today a robot has smashed that record.

That's it? What are you doing in five seconds?? There's now a robot which does it all in just one second. A bit less than the time it takes to throw the cube in the air and catch it.

This robot has nothing unusual: four cameras, some stepper motors which drive 6 "fingers" that turn the faces of the cube in which (alas) some holes have been drilled. All this is driven by an Arduino and controlled by a PC running Linux, with an algorithm called Kociemba, after the man who, following decades of research, showed some years ago that from any starting position the cube could be solved in less than 20 moves.

Spectacular it may be, but this doesn't move me. My heart starts beating faster, however, when I see a human take 6 seconds to memorise the cube , and then solve it blindfolded. Happily, this tachycardia only lasts 15 s.

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