Feb 11, 2016 | By Benedict

If you’re getting a sense of deja vu seeing a Rubik’s Cube robot on the front page of 3Ders again, don’t worry: This isn’t a glitch in the Matrix, it’s more Rubik’s Cube news—and big news! Just a few weeks ago, we reported on an amazing 3D printed robot that solved a Rubik’s Cube in a world record time of 1 seconds. That 3D printed robot, built by Jay Flatland and Paul Rose, became the first machine to solve the famous puzzle in less than 2 seconds, but it looks as though the Cube-solving title already has a new champion.

Adam Beer, an industrial engineer and economist, has posted a YouTube video which appears to show his Cube-solving robot, the Sub1, solving a scrambled puzzle in just 0.887 seconds, narrowly beating the recent record set by the Flatland and Rose and their 3D printed bot. The footage, shot at the Cubikon store in Munich, Germany, has not been verified by official sources, but the evidence seems damning for our 3D printed former champion.

The fine margin between the two records got us wondering: What’s separating the Flatland-Rose machine from the Sub1 in terms of hardware, software, and coding? Flatland and Rose’s 3D printed machine uses an Arduino chip, Linux-powered webcams, and the long-established two-phase Kociemba algorithm. The narrowly victorious Sub1 also uses an Arduino board but, according to Beer, employs the more recent adaptation of the Kociemba algorithm first introduced by mathematician Tomas Rokicki, perhaps giving it that fractional edge over its additively manufactured foe. The solution is carried out by the Sub1’s six stepper motors, which can finish the puzzle in 20 moves.

“Once the start button was hit two webcam shutters were moved away,” Beer explained. “Thereafter a laptop took two pictures, each picture showing three sides of the cube. Then the laptop identified all colors of the cube and calculated a solution with Tomas Rokicki's extremely fast implementation of Herbert Kociemba's Two-Phase-Algorithm. The solution was handed over to an Arduino-compatible microcontroller board that orchestrated the 20 moves of six high performance steppers. Only 887 milliseconds after the start button had been hit Sub1 broke a historic barrier and finished the last move in new world record time.”

Before any firm claim to the Cube-solving record can be made, officials must be brought to adjudicate Sub1’s performance. “The world record claim has to be investigated and approved by Guinness World Records,” said Beer. With the huge press interest generated by the Sub1’s showing, we imagine the official testing will take place sooner rather than later.

Given the narrow margins involved, could Flatland & Rose vs. Beer represent the start of a robotic rivalry comparable to Optimus Prime vs. Megatron? The emergence of the Sub1 will surely see Flatland and Rose pushing their 3D printed creation back into the ring in order to reclaim its Cube-solving title. May the best robot win!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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