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Android Robotics Toys Technology

Android Phone Solves Rubik's Cube In 12.5 Seconds 76

Posted by timothy
from the varies-with-the-cube dept.
DeviceGuru writes "A Lego Mindstorms robotics kit controlled by an HTC Nexus One smartphone successfully untangled a Rubik's Cube puzzle in 12.5 seconds at this weeks ARM technical conference in Silicon Valley. The current 3x3x3 cube-solvers's 15-second average represents a substantial improvement over the 25-second solutions of an earlier version, which was powered by a circa-2006 Nokia N95 smartphone, thanks to a faster (1GHz) CPU, more RAM, and revamped cube-solving algorithms. ARM Engineer David Gilday, who created the robotic cube-solver, claims the current version's algorithms can handle cube complexities up to 100x100x100, assuming he build the mechanics. In terms of racing humans, Gilday says the Lego robotics kits can only manage around 1.5 moves per second, whereas human players can make between 5 and 6 moves per second, amazingly enough." Update: 11/12 03:45 GMT by T : Apologies to creator David Gilday, whose name was earlier misspelled.
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Android Phone Solves Rubik's Cube In 12.5 Seconds

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  • so... (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:54PM (#34201342)
    In terms of racing humans, Gilder says the Lego robotics kits can only manage around 1.5 moves per second, whereas human players can make between 5 and 6 moves per second, amazingly enough.

    So, if we could build an ARM-powered human, it could solve the Rubik's Cube in 2-3 seconds?
  • The total moves required to reach a solution is usually more important than the moves per second. While the robot is slower to physically move the device, it is probably moving the cube more efficiently than many humans. For instance, I can solve the cube, but do so by only moving one square at a time. More advanced solvers can move several squares simultaneously... a good computer will come up with the most efficient moves to solve the puzzle.

    • by Kunnis (756642) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:09PM (#34201518)
      The best solution for a rubix cube is always less then 20 moves (see http://www.cube20.org/ [cube20.org] ) It averages around 18 moves for the best solution. That's 27 seconds to solve on average. Where this 11 second youtube video shows a guy solving a cube.. in less then 11 seconds. I can do it in about 60 seconds and I'm not very good. Also, before using computerized solutions, you have to know your whole solution. The manual solutions you can figure out as you go along... you can figure out your next steps while you're manipulating your current step.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Ihmhi (1206036)

        I can do it in about 60 seconds and I'm not very good.

        I would think anyone who can solve a Rubik's Cube in around a minute could consider themselves good.

        I seem to recall an article about Will Smith and how he was taking up speedcubing. His teacher said a good goal for the average person - the point where they "get it" - is about 2 minutes. So you're at least twice as good at something as Will Smith.

        Incidentally, have you tried rapping lately?

        • by migla (1099771)

          I think I can beat Mike Tyson.

        • by Kunnis (756642)
          What I acutally ended up doing was borrowing a co-worker's cube and messing with a bunch. Once you solve it a few dozen times, the action gets a lot smoother and it's faster to handle. I know the solutions I was doing were a lot more then 30 moves, but they were very simple to memorize, so I was able to do them quickly. I think I memorized a total of about 8 patterns, this is the site I used. http://peter.stillhq.com/jasmine/rubikscubesolution.html [stillhq.com] There are a few cases where I have to do the same patt
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I remember reading countless iphone stories which were completely pointless - anything done over iphone has been reported as some sort of nerd news on /. - and it was a good indication of rabid hype of otherwise ordinary electronic device.

    Now we see similarly pointless Android stories.

    This can only mean one thing - Android has arrived.

    • Are you saying writing an app for the iPhone that only farts and makes other 'bodily noises' doesn't have any inherent value? Then you're sure not going to like "Chili Cheese's Raunchy Ringtone Collection". Best ringtones around (even better when they're combined with 'vibrate' mode).
  • by CokoBWare (584686) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:01PM (#34201416)

    "Gilder says the Lego robotics kits can only manage around 1.5 moves per second, whereas human players can make between 5 and 6 moves per second, amazingly enough."

    Only if the cubes are greased well, otherwise they're stuck with wrestling the bloody things.

  • by adosch (1397357) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:02PM (#34201432)
    Maybe I'm just missing the excitement of this, but architecture aside, we know Rubik's cubes have predestined, mathematical (logical) approach to solving them, so really having any computational device (even like a microcontroller) can do that. I'd like to people fine-tune the robotic mechanics around turning and changing the cube, so it can start rivaling human solving speeds. I think that's were the feat would get a lot more interesting than seeing the next xyz-embedded computing device controlling another Lego Mindstorm.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'd be curious to know exactly how limited the hardware could be while still implementing the cube solving algorithm. Clock speeds are just a matter of patience, half the speed just means waiting twice as long; but there has to be an amount of RAM below which the algorithm Just Can't Be Done.

      As for the hardware side, I imagine that the guys who do really serious high speed CNC machinery could probably achieve better-than-human speeds, though the device would probably cost 100k and require the cube to be
  • Ah yes... (Score:2, Interesting)

    > thanks to a faster (1GHz) CPU, more RAM, and revamped cube-solving algorithms.

    I love how a few hundred million math operations per second is no longer enough for our phones, while most information in the human voice is under 8Mhz, IIRC.

    It feels a little like the math we teach our children is teaching them how to play with rocks in a cave. But they will never, ever, do what the computer is able to do already.

    Though they will do other cool stuff.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      8kHz not 8MHz and that is the sampling frequency since POTS are 300Hz to 3400Hz

    • If by "math" you mean applying existing algorithms, you're right. But the fun part (and what mathematicians have always done) in Math is devising those algorithms. I'm happy to leave boring, repetitive work to machines.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:29PM (#34201672) Journal

    A 3x3x3x3 hypercube.
    A cube where all the faces are slightly different shades of yellow.
    A cube where all the faces are pictures of people's faces.
    A cube made of jello cubes.
    A cube made of Plutonium-238 .

  • If you haven't seen this mind storm version, you may be impressed. It has done it in 2 seconds!

    Cube Stormer [youtube.com]
  • There was an article about the cubestormer quite a few months ago here on Slashdot. It seems to be able to solve the cube much quicker, and it just looks a lot more sturdy. See video here.. [youtube.com] So is it really that impressive that they did this using an ARM?
  • Someone got carried away ...
    emulating those DROID platform ads [youtube.com].
    I'm hoping the real cube solver adds no fake robot sounds to its rotating arms.

  • Great demo! Will Mr. Gilder consider publishing the plans for the solving machine and the application source? T'would be cool!
  • The best average time for the human solvers is 8.52 seconds (with 5 consecutive cubes), and the best time for a single cube is 7.08 seconds:

    http://www.worldcubeassociation.org/results/regions.php [worldcubeassociation.org]

    Single 7.08 Erik Akkersdijk Netherlands Czech Open 2008
    Average 8.52 Feliks Zemdegs Australia New Zealand Champs 2010

    Getting 12.5 seconds from a single solve is not what I can call a benchmark.
    However, there is a larger progress' margin for computers than for humans.

    • FYI, both these records were just broken by Feliks Zemdegs. That kid is a cubing prodigy. Also, for each average of 5 solves the best and worst times are dropped.
  • Oracle have deemed this solution to be covered by copyrighted code inherited from Sun and are currently in the process of suing Lego. Because Larry needs a new dinghy.

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