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Lego Rubik's robot solves cube in 12 seconds

A standard Rubik's Cube has more than 42 quintrillion possible positions. A Lego Mindstorms robot called CubeStormer can solve the cube in less than 12 seconds.

Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

Robots--even toy robots--are sometimes frighteningly adept at specific intelligence tasks. A new machine built out of toy parts is nearly as fast as the fastest human at solving Rubik's Cube puzzles.

CubeStormer is a cube-solving device built by British engineer Mike Dobson out of Lego Mindstorms parts hooked up to a computer.

Lego machines have also been programmed to solve sudoku puzzles, but the speed at which CubeStormer takes on a scrambled cube is pretty awesome.

As the video shows, Dobson's device solves a 3x3x3-inch cube in less than 12 seconds with a blinding display of automatic scanning and rotating. It seems to have four manipulators and several cameras.

It appears to complete the puzzle in about 10 seconds, then checks it for 2 seconds. That's much quicker than other cube-solving robots like Cubinator, which takes up to 37 seconds, but at least one other machine, from UC Berkeley, can solve the puzzle in 6 seconds.

CubeStormer is only a tad slower than the fastest human. Erik Akkersdijk, a top "speedcuber," can solve a standard cube in 7.08 seconds. Then again, CubeStormer has four manipulators, not two hands. Presumably a four-armed human would be faster. But is there a two-handed robot out there that can beat Akkersdijk?

I think it's only a matter of time until we have another Deep Blue moment in speedcubing humans versus machines.

(Via Singularity Hub)