Feed me a cube
December 4, 2006 4:40 PM   Subscribe

solving a rubik's cube can be difficult, and building a rubik's cube solving robot is probably even more difficult. So if you're going to do it, you might as well go all out. Of course you can try for yourself
posted by delmoi (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Ah -- Rubik's Cube. At summer camp in the early '80s it was a sensation with folks trying to outdo each other in time-trials. We actually came up with a illustrated one-page solution which was photocopied to death. I wish I could find my copy today.
posted by ericb at 5:02 PM on December 4, 2006

posted by ericb at 5:02 PM on December 4, 2006

Some pages on how to solve a Rubik's cube
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 5:23 PM on December 4, 2006

I just finished learning how to solve a rubiks cube this week (after two months of practice and work). Thanks for making me obsolete.
posted by Suparnova at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2006

I thought only Will Smith could do this.
posted by mosessmith at 6:08 PM on December 4, 2006

That 'go all out' video was pretty impressive, though based on how the other cube solving robot worked, it was probably a 'hoax'.

Where hoax is still a very impressive bit of robotic engineering. But I bet it was programed to undo a specific sequence of turns that the kid did initially.

I could be totally wrong though. It just seemed more likely that the one in the first video would be more indicative of what a robot would have to require to solve a Rubik's cube (the strobing light to confirm the colors, the multiple cameras to see the different sides, etc)

Hoax or no, it is more impressive than anything I could build, so cheers. (though I would have chosen a better speech synthesizer, I couldn't understand one word in three that it was saying.)
posted by quin at 6:43 PM on December 4, 2006

quin: the rubot rotates the cube in it's "hands" several times before it starts. It would be able to build an internal representation, and probably a solving plan without ever needing to see the cube again.
posted by delmoi at 7:04 PM on December 4, 2006

quin: also check out this video Where are pro scrambles the cube before giving it to the bot.
posted by delmoi at 7:09 PM on December 4, 2006

I'm sitting here at the computer thinking, "Wow. Maybe I'll build a rubik's cube solving robot..."

(Cue the dreamy music as a thought bubble appears over my head.)

My robot asks me to mix up the rubik's cube.

"Sure," I say and radomly rotate the cube.

The robot picks up the cube and checks it out. It makes a few hesitant rotations, beeps and boops a few times, and then crushes the cube with its powerful claws! The robot then turns to me and I realize my fate will be that of the rubiks cube.

Such is my hubris...
posted by bstreep at 7:11 PM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

quin: you got me beat by one word in three.

I hope that kid appreciates how lucky he is to have parents that can build a Ru-bot.* I mean, jeez, my dad never got past the using-a-butter-knife-for-a-screwdriver stage.

*That's assuming the kid didn't build it himself; that would just be too scary.
posted by Opposite George at 7:16 PM on December 4, 2006

Hmm, clicking the related links always yields something interesting...
posted by delmoi at 7:22 PM on December 4, 2006

I am so turned on right now!
posted by robot at 8:03 PM on December 4, 2006

Could somebody please explain to me the cup-stacking thing and how it became a competitive sport? I mean, there are some things I don't really get, but I can see how they can work for other people. Aligator wrestling, for instance. But cup stacking? It just doesn't compute.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:12 PM on December 4, 2006

Thanks delmoi, that clip you posted seems a lot more authentic. And your right, I didn't notice it inspecting the cube in the first clip.

Very impressive stuff.

Though it seems like a lot of work to build a robot just to solve a puzzle. I mean, if I'm going to take the time and spend the money, my robot is going to walk my dogs, clean the cat box, and destroy my enemies.

You know. Normal robot stuff.
posted by quin at 9:15 PM on December 4, 2006

You know. Normal robot stuff.

You missed "turn on its creator, enslave humanity."

Don't stress though, I gather everyone misses that.
posted by pompomtom at 9:59 PM on December 4, 2006

This all-Lego robotic cube solver has been around for quite a while ...
posted by magullo at 11:59 PM on December 4, 2006

Here's another robot with a different approach.
posted by kindall at 1:08 AM on December 5, 2006

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