Just when you thought you were pretty darn cool for being able to solve a Rubik’s Cube in less time than it takes to prepare a light lunch, along comes a smart-alec robot to show you up.
Robots have been solving the famous Cube for a while now, but this week one of these exceptional machines set what may be a new world record by completing it in a time faster than it takes to say, “Wow.”
Performing the feat over and over again at this week’s Electronica trade fair in Munich, Germany, the Sub1 Reloaded robot used technology from chipmaker Infineon to spin the Cube to completion in a mere 0.637 seconds.
To begin the record attempt, an assistant pressed a button to release shutters from the robot’s array of sensors. With the timer already ticking, the Sub1 quickly assessed the position of the various stickers before using its motor-controlled arms to solve the puzzle in a dazzling flurry of rapid rotations – 21 of them, to be precise.
If you’re wondering why the robot didn’t have to suffer any of those annoying moments where the Cube gets stuck as you try to twist it, it’s because it was using a special “speed cube” that minimizes friction during rotations.
The video (above) shows the feat performed in normal time and also in slow-motion, so you can actually see the Cube being solved rather than an incomprehensible blur of movement.
Infineon hopes the Sub1’s achievement will help highlight the ability and speed of its technology, something it says is ideal for self-driving vehicles.
“The microcontroller can react to events in a very short and deterministic timeframe, which is extremely important in the automotive area,” Infineon’s Peter Schäfer told the FT.
The Sub1 beat a previous record of 0.887 seconds achieved by an earlier version of the same robot with a different processor fitted. But as there was no representative from Guinness World Records, Infineon needs to submit evidence to the organization to have the effort officially recognized.
And in case you were wondering, Guinness World Records currently lists Lucas Etter as the human record holder for solving the Cube, taking only 4.90 seconds last year. However, just last Sunday, Dutchman Mats Valk apparently completed it in a mere 4.74 seconds. But like the Sub1’s effort, it’s yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records.