Blink and you'll miss it: this robot has just set a new world record for solving a Rubik's cube, and it's unlikely that human hands will ever be able to beat it. The robot, called Sub1 Reloaded, tackled the puzzle in just 0.637 seconds and 21 moves, acing the human world record of 4.9 seconds.
The feat was performed at this year's Electronica trade fair in Munich, Germany, as a demonstration of Infinion's self-driving car tech. The robot's motor contained the company's Aurix minicomputers, used for driver assistance systems that require lightning-fast reaction times.
For those not familiar with the popular stocking-filler, a Rubik's Cube with six faces, each with nine coloured squares that can be moved in opposite directions. The objective is to rotate the faces until each side of the Cube shows a single colour.
According to Infinion, there are some 43 quintillion combinations of the coloured squares possible – so to tackle the puzzle in just a little long than it takes you to blink is mind-boggling, even by robo-standards.
The company provided some insight how its robot bested the popular stocking-filler with such aplomb – after first jumbling the squares "in accordance with the special requirements of the World Cube Association", of course.
"Sub1 Reloaded contains a number of other microchips. Like most devices we use every day, they link the real and digital worlds," Infinion said in a statement. "The computing chip, or the 'brain' of the machine, figured out the fastest solution and transmitted the necessary commands to the power semiconductors.
"These 'muscles' then activated six motors, one for each side of the cube, at record speed and then brought them to a halt – all within the fraction of a second."
Every Rubik's cube can be unscrambled with just 20 movements, although Inferion said its robot had been built speed as opposed to solving the cube in the fewest moves. You'd think the two would go hand-in-hand, but apparently not.
Sub1's new record of 637 milliseconds aces the robot's previous record of 887 milliseconds, achieved in February this year. Talk about a problem-solver.