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Two humans programmed a robot to solve a Rubik’s Cube in just over one second and in 40 years or so we haven’t been able to solve the puzzle without popping the pieces off and putting it back together.
In a viral video on YouTube that has attracted more than 2 million views, engineers Jay Flatland and Paul Rose show off their creation, and if we don’t blink, we get to watch it work its magic four times.
“We’ve built an extremely fast Rubik’s Cube solving robot and we’re in the process right now of applying for an official world record,” Flatland says at the start of the video.
The device is made up of stepper motors, resting in a 3D-printed frame, which turn the puzzle. Four USB web cams are pointed at the Cube to determine its state “very rapidly.” The camera information is fed to a PC application with feeds to the Kociemba Rubik’s Cube solving algorithm, according to Flatland.
The robot’s fastest speed in solving the puzzle, 1.019 seconds, comes at the very end of the video. A 14-year-old kid in Maryland set the world record for humans a few months ago. Lucas Ketter spun the colors to completion in just 4.90 seconds.
While all of this was happening, we were sadly still relying on the Bieber Speed Metric. Pop star Justin Bieber has famously solved the Rubik’s Cube in under 2 minutes — which seemed fast to us! But apparently the robot could solve 120 puzzles in that time. Sorry, Biebs.