Robot smashes Rubik's cube record, solves puzzle in 0.38 seconds

Humans are no match for machines in many ways, and solving the Rubik's cube is no exception. A bunch of people have dedicated huge amounts of effort into mastering the art of rapid Rubik's cube solutions, but a machine has beat them all with a seemingly impossible 0.38-second solve time. You have to slow down the video considerably to see the solution, otherwise you'll blink and literally miss it.

The machine, which doesn't appear to have a name, was created by software developer Jared Di Carlo and MIT robotics student Ben Katz. The duo detailed the creation on their own blogs, explaining that they set out to try and break the world record, which is officially set at 0.637 seconds by the Sub1 Reloaded by Infineon.

According to Di Carlo's blog "Cactus Zone," the duo decided to use Kollmorgen ServoDisc motors rather than the stepper motors used in past robots. Due to the motor's design, the hardware is able to "accelerate insanely fast," with a speed exceeding 1,000rpm during a 10ms quarter-turn of the cube. Paired with the hardware were PlayStation 3 Eye webcams, color detection software, and other software to control the system.

The team explains that the software works by looking at the cube's colors and forming a description of the cube as it exists at the start. The description is passed off to an algorithm that determines the moves to solve the cube, and then that info is transferred to the motor controllers, an overall process that happens in a mere 45ms.

The end result is a robot that appears to be a new world-record setter, though the solve time will need to be made official for the duo to take the title.