When you think of Lego machines controlled by computer you tend to think of devices that work slowly for fear the very bricks of which they are made might fall apart. Now watch the video of CubeStormer 3 untangle a standard 3x3 Rubik's cube in 3.25 seconds. And yes, that's a record.
Lego is great for prototyping, but it does have a habit of falling apart and not being as resilient as custom made parts. CubeStormer 3 proves that this doesn't always have to be the case.
Take eight Lego Mindstorms EV3 bricks and associated Lego parts. The main controller is a Samsung Galaxy S4 and, of course, all of the processors are ARM variants which is presumably why ARM sponsored the machine and showed it off at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham (UK) on the March 14th.
The S4 analyzes the cube and works out the moves needed to solve it. The Lego EV3 bricks act as motor controllers for the four robotic "hands" that do the necessary manipulation. The key to making it fast is precision movements and an independent braking system.
Last year the machine managed to unscramble a cube in 5.27 seconds. This year, with the help of the tuning and brake system, it managed 3.25 second, which is a new Guinness world record.
You can see CubeStormer3 before the attempt in this video:
And here is the record breaking attempt (with some very long intro and credits):
As well as CubeStormer3, two other machines built by the same team broke records at the event, one solving the 4x4x4 cube and the other the 9x9x9 cube - where do you get a 9x9x9 cube from in the first place?
Using a Huawei Ascend P6 Android phone, Multicuber3 set the record for the 4x4x4 cube at 1 minute 18.66 seconds - see it in action:
The awesome MultiCuber 999 solved the 9x9x9 cube, for which the number of solution possibilities is in of the order of a 278 digit number, in 34 minutes 25.89 seconds and has to be seen to be believed:
So now you know a custom Android app running on a phone can solve the 9x9x9 cube and control the motors that make the machine actually solve the cube.