LEGO Robot Defeats Rubik's Cube in 3 Seconds

LEGO Robot Defeats Rubik's Cube in 3 Seconds

The Cubestormer 3 solved a Rubiks cube in 3.253 seconds.

If you want to look like you're smart and do it in a dramatic fashion, solving a Rubik's cube really fast is a surefire way to get the job done. Just watch Will Smith do it and try not to be impressed. And heck, he didn't even do it all that quickly. Not that I can criticize, of course. The only way I've been able to do it is to peel off the stickers, a method most commonly referred to as cheating.

As impressive as Rubik's cube solving can be however, there is one feat I can think of that's even cooler: building a robot to do it for you. Take the Cubestormer 3, for instance. Built and designed by the British team ARM, it recently broke robotic records by solving a Rubik's cube in 3.253 seconds. The previous record holder, the Cubestomer 2, was only able to do it in 5.27 seconds. The human record, in case you were wondering, is 5.55 seconds.

The Cubestormer 3 tackled its cube using a custom algorithm processed by an octa-core Samsung Galaxy 4 phone. The phones cores power a LEGO Mindstorm actuators which, in turn, are instructed by the team's software on what moves they need to make in order to complete the cube.

Setting aside the inherent cool factor of a LEGO robot rapid fire Rubiks-ing, I will admit to feeling of anxiety over just how easily the Cubestormer 3 basically owns the hard-won human record. It's not that I'm na´ve. I know, of course, that even my dumpy, falling apart laptop that overheats every time I boot up a game. has more processing power than my brain ever will. Nonetheless, it's still a bit foreboding to see a tangible symbol of human smarts pretty much made into a joke by an automaton. The robot revolution may not start with Cubestormer 3, but the signs are certainly starting to pile up.

Source: Engadget

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Eh. I wouldn't be too worried about a robot apocalypse if I were you.

This is cool tech though. It's kinda impressive they got the thing to move that quickly.

I do have to raise one issue however: A Rubiks Cube is not, by any means, a measure of intelligence. It's a measure of "do you know the algorithm?". There's a pretty straightforward series of steps you need to follow to solve a cube, and that if you don't follow, you will almost certainly fail. All being able to solve one means is that you either know or were able to deduce the algorithm.

The Original Cubestormer did it in 10.75 seconds, Cubestormer II did it in 5.27 seconds, Cubestormer III did it in 3.25 seconds... At this rate CubeStormer IV should solve it in about 1.75-2.25 seconds

Agayek:
snip

You're in the ball park of right, the most basic method (the one I use) requires 5 algorithms and while they are a bit of a bitch to memorize, muscle memory makes it easy. The most basic of these is right inverted, down inverted, right, down but it's meaningless unless you set it up correctly.

On topic. It's impressive that lego and actuators can be programmed to do analyze and solve a cube.

That's not really a robot doing a Rubik's Cube - it's not learning how to do it by itself, just following a series of instructions, which should invalidate the entire effort.

SirBryghtside:
That's not really a robot doing a Rubik's Cube - it's not learning how to do it by itself, just following a series of instructions, which should invalidate the entire effort.

I knew there was SOMETHING bothering me about this.... I couldn't think what it was. You just hit the nail on the head. THAT's why I wasn't very impressed. I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. Thanks.

Unless there's some sort of proof that it isn't just following pre-programmed instructions, it isn't going to impress me at all. How about re-randomising it a few times and doing it again? If it can solve it every time, THEN that'll be something more.

At this rate, the robot a few versions down the road will have a time-dilation field to make it all instantaneous.

Captcha: In limbo

Indeed.

ShadowGandalf01:

SirBryghtside:
That's not really a robot doing a Rubik's Cube - it's not learning how to do it by itself, just following a series of instructions, which should invalidate the entire effort.

I knew there was SOMETHING bothering me about this.... I couldn't think what it was. You just hit the nail on the head. THAT's why I wasn't very impressed. I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. Thanks.

Unless there's some sort of proof that it isn't just following pre-programmed instructions, it isn't going to impress me at all. How about re-randomising it a few times and doing it again? If it can solve it every time, THEN that'll be something more.

Well, how would you give it a set of instructions that will always solve a rubiks cube in seconds? If you watch it, you'll notice the "arms" pause for half a second at one point as it calculates how to finish.

At least, that's what it looks like to me.

JaceArveduin:

ShadowGandalf01:

SirBryghtside:
That's not really a robot doing a Rubik's Cube - it's not learning how to do it by itself, just following a series of instructions, which should invalidate the entire effort.

I knew there was SOMETHING bothering me about this.... I couldn't think what it was. You just hit the nail on the head. THAT's why I wasn't very impressed. I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. Thanks.

Unless there's some sort of proof that it isn't just following pre-programmed instructions, it isn't going to impress me at all. How about re-randomising it a few times and doing it again? If it can solve it every time, THEN that'll be something more.

Well, how would you give it a set of instructions that will always solve a rubiks cube in seconds? If you watch it, you'll notice the "arms" pause for half a second at one point as it calculates how to finish.

At least, that's what it looks like to me.

I've heard about these Lego-based cube solvers before - I think it spends the first second photographing the cube, the next half-second converting the images into the actual cube layout to feed to the calculator, the next quarter-second internally running and testing the algorithms, and the remainder operating the actuators to make it work.

I think. (Check the phone screen, which shows actual images for the first second, then goes blank while it processes.)

Kinitawowi:

I've heard about these Lego-based cube solvers before - I think it spends the first second photographing the cube, the next half-second converting the images into the actual cube layout to feed to the calculator, the next quarter-second internally running and testing the algorithms, and the remainder operating the actuators to make it work.

I think. (Check the phone screen, which shows actual images for the first second, then goes blank while it processes.)

Thanks for explaining that for me, couldn't quite figure out how to say it.

"The previous record holder, the Cubestomer 2, was only able to do it in 5.27 seconds."

only able to do it in 5.27 seconds? I've yet to finish any rubik's cube, so I guess my current record is 25 years.

I've been led to believe that that last claim about the human brain is false. Just because we can't math good doesn't mean that the biochemical processes that govern our bodies are even remotely approached by machinery yet. My memory of the whole thing is a bit hazy, but I seem to recall something about facial association or something. You know, how we see people faces in everything, ex :). I'm having difficulty explaining this, and I'm sure that someone with more sciency know-how will jump in and explain it better than I can. The point is, just because the part of the brain you're consciously using can't match your computer, doesn't mean that the computer is better than your brain.

It uses the camera on the smartphone to work out the pattern the cube is in, so it can solve it from any state. I wonder how much the time can vary?

SirBryghtside:
That's not really a robot doing a Rubik's Cube - it's not learning how to do it by itself, just following a series of instructions, which should invalidate the entire effort.

That's how humans do it too:

1 - Form the White Cross (easy)
2 - Set the bottom corners using 1 standard move set.
3 - Set the middle layer using 1 of 2 standard move sets.
4 - Set the top corners using 1 of 2 standard move sets.
5 - Orient the top corners using 1 of 2 standard move sets.
6 - Permute the top edges using 1 standard move set.
7 - Orient the top edges using 1 of 2 standard move sets.

If you know the 10 move sets, and know the 2 patterns each for stages 3,4,5,7 to decide which move set to use, it's just following a series of instructions.

Any semi-modern computer (and in turn smartphone) can 'solve' a virtual Rubik's Cube in a fraction of a second, so the actual 'solving' of the cube here isn't particularly impressive. You can find free JavaScript apps online for doing just that, which will solve any given cube layout very quickly by following the known algorithms for doing so, then output the list of required rotations, and optionally display an animation of the process. That's why they're able to use a phone to compute this quickly, rather than a significantly more powerful computing device. This solving process can't really be considered 'intelligence', just as your word processor converting a line of text to italics wouldn't be considered 'intelligence'. It's not learning how to solve the cube, just following the algorithms entered by the programmer on how to solve a cube quickly.

The majority of the time that a device like this spends on the cube is spent waiting for motors to physically perform the rotations following the commands that were computed at the start of the process. That's not to say the device isn't impressive for what it is though, as it still has to perform those rotations quickly, and in a reliable manner. It's not really fair to directly compare this to a human though, since a human lacks specialized cube-rotating hardware, and would have to rely on general-purpose fingers to perform the task. Likewise, while a human brain is far more versatile than a Rubik's Cube solving program, the computing device has an advantage of speed at performing specified tasks. That doesn't make it smarter, just faster.

I'd say solving a Rubik's Cube is probably not all that impressive, once you've got a program that nails the math that makes it happen. The LEGO monstrosity that translates the program into action is pretty neat, though.

Anyway, I'd say this is still about 3.25 seconds longer than anyone should spend on a Rubik's Cube.

SirBryghtside:
That's not really a robot doing a Rubik's Cube - it's not learning how to do it by itself, just following a series of instructions, which should invalidate the entire effort.

It's not doing anything fundamentally different than what a human speedcuber would do, just faster and with less error. Expecting the robot to have zero previous knowledge of Rubiks cubes would be placing a burden on it that we don't place on human solvers.

StewShearer:

The Cubestormer 3 solved a Rubiks cube in 3.253 seconds.

solving a Rubik's cube really fast

As impressive as Rubik's cube

LEGO robot rapid fire Rubiks-ing,

The phones cores power

Dear The Escapist,

Hire an editor or proofreader.

Sincerely,

Everyone

Great, so not only are Lego minifigs going to outnumber us meatbags within a few years, but now we're giving them super-smart machinery? It's like the scientists want a revolution to happen. A tiny, yellow revolution.

...So, it's impressive. But it's not like a singularity; it's not learning how to do it, or even understanding the way it should be learning.

It's just doing what it's told.

It's an impressive piece of machinery and robotics, but not something that should really be newsworthy on a gaming website.

Actually, remember how, a few months ago, ANGELINA was born? You know, that program that could actually create video games? Soulless, dead video games, that simply gave a sense os lifelessness, despair, loneliness, that landed square in the uncanny valley, and that shown us just how creepy, mentally-disturbed we are for creating such a monstrous, eerily disturbed thing, which in turn created this over horrible thing?

Yeah, a British guy made her, didn't he?

I don't recognize this achievement. Exploiting machines to solve the cube should invalidate the entire effort.

 

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