It is the fastest-ever time set by a robot for the completion of a Rubik’s cube and the result of 18 months of effort by co-inventors David Gilday and Mike Dobson who worked on the project in their spare time.
Here is a video of the CUBESTORMER 3 in action:
The new record beats the existing time of 5.27 seconds set two years by the same team. David Gilday is a principal engineer at ARM, a processor design company based in Cambridge, and co-inventor Mike Dobson, a security systems engineer for Securi-Plex.
“We knew CUBESTORMER 3 had the potential to beat the existing record but with the robot performing physical operations quicker than the human eye can see there’s always an element of risk,” said Gilday. “In the end, the hours we spent perfecting the robot and ensuring its motor and intelligence functions were properly synchronized paid off. Our big challenge now is working out if it’s possible to make it go even faster.”
The record-breaking robot employs intelligence from a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone powered by an Exynos 5 Octa application processor with an eight-core ARM big.LITTLE implementation featuring four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 processors.
The phone analyzes the cube, calculates the correct sequence of moves and instructs four robotic hands to do the manipulations. ARM9 processors also power the eight LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 bricks which perform the motor sequencing and control.
Gilday added, “The robot demonstrates just how fast a Samsung Galaxy S4 can think. As well as working out the solution, the ARM-powered Exynos processor has to instruct the robot to carry out the moves. This is more complex than it seems because CUBESTORMER 3 uses a speed cube which allows twists before the sides are fully-aligned. It means the robot is effectively mirroring the same kind of judgment and dexterity that a human speed cuber has to apply. ”
Additional features include a precision independent braking system that delivers significant speed benefits and software optimized to take advantage of this increased mechanical flexibility and the compute power gains.
Alongside the fastest robot to complete a Rubik’s Cube attempt, Gilday also set two further world records with other ARM-based robots he had designed:
- The quickest completion of a 4x4x4 cube using a MultiCuber 3 robot based on a Huawei Ascend P6 smartphone with a Hisilicon K3V2E processor. The record set was 1 minute 18.68 seconds.
- The largest Rubik’s Cube solved by a robot, set with a 9x9x9 cube by a MultiCuber 999 robot based on a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone powered by an Exynos 4 Quad application processor. The number of solution possibilities ran to 278 digits and the robot recorded a time of 34 minutes 25.89 seconds.