Rubik’s Cube. A puzzle created in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of Ernő Rubik. The multi-colored brick has been purchased more than 350 million times since its release, making it the world’s best-selling puzzle game and one of the world’s most popular toys.
Rubik’s Cube is a difficult puzzle to solve. Despite giving it my best, rarely (once) have I been successful in defeating the little devil toy. Even when provided with a guide to aid one in solving the puzzle, it remains vexing.
Attempting to demonstrate the superiority of robots (what other explanation could there be?), students at Swinburne University of Technology have created what they believe to be the world’s fastest Rubik’s Cube-solving robot. The cleverly named robot, “Ruby,” can complete a Rubik’s Cube in a little more than 10 seconds.
Professor Chris Pilgrim, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies describes how Ruby works,
“Ruby works by scanning each face of a scrambled cube through a web cam. It then uses a software algorithm to develop a solution which is fed to the high-speed robot through a real-time embedded control system. The students’ combined expertise in robotics and software engineering enabled them to construct a robot with a fast computer vision-tracking system capable of very high precision movements and timings.”
While claiming Ruby is the Rubik’s Cube robot Queen, the 10 second record remains unofficial. However, the students behind the project are attempting to have Ruby’s speed deemed a Guinness World Record. The world’s fastest Rubik’s Cube solving robot, the Cubinator, was able to solve a scrambled Rubik’s Cube in 18.2 seconds, which remains the current standard for robots.
Unfortunately the speed of Ruby is sloth-like slow in comparison to the world record for a human. Currently the fast single time on a 3×3×3 Rubik’s Cube is held by Feliks Zemdegs with a time of 6.24 seconds.
Have you tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube? Do you consider yourself a Rubik’s Cube savant or does the little brick baffle you?