A robot can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 637 milliseconds

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A robot called the Sub1 Reloaded can unscramble a Rubik’s Cube in 637 milliseconds – considerably less than the fastest human time of 4.9 seconds. The robot, built by self-driving chipmaker Infineon, uses six motors to turn and twist the cube after another computer scans it, solves the puzzle virtually. The arms quickly begin to move the cube into a solved position.

The robot is so fast that you can barely see the sides moving as it resolves the colors.

“The hardest part is in processing the sensory information and trying to work out whether it is a situation that requires braking or swerving or ignoring,” said Professor Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield. “It is a bit like asking Sub1 if it is a Rubik’s Cube in front of it or a pile of biscuits that needs to be crumbled for the base of a cheesecake.”

The Sub1 Reloaded is actually a proof of concept to show off Infineon’s self-driving car chips that can process data in real time at 200Mhz. Because CPU speeds are ratcheting up at an alarming rate, it’s clear that a robot like the Sub1 could keep us safe while drive and solve untold numbers of Rubik’s Cubes on demand at the same time.

The robot is probably going to win the Guinness Book of World Records for fastest Rubik’s Cube solution. Sadly this poor, cold, unfeeling piece of machinery can solve a 3D puzzle but will never truly understand the pride of accomplishment.