Monday, February 15, 2010

CubeStormer Can Solve Any 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube in less than 12 seconds

Name of Model: CubeStormer
Created by: Mike Dobson / RoboticSolutions
Found at:
We've seen Rubik's cube solvers before. It's been a while, though, since we've seen one that used the Vision Command system. The 9731 Vision Command set was a standard Logitech Quickcam web inside, but thanks to the included software and the API that was available online at the time, they could be used with a PC to control a LEGO Mindstorms RCX. While LEGO and Logitech have both stopped supporting this product, it can still be useful in the right hands - such as those of the builder of today's model.

The program comes up with a solution for the cube - any 3x3x3 Rubik's cube - solves it, and tells the RCX (which in turn powers the lights and motors, which in turn (through mechanisms not entirely clear from the video) manipulate the cube) what moves to make to leave the puzzle in a solved state. All of that happens in less than 12 seconds, regardless of how scrambled the cube is. That alone would be an exceptional feat, but it's kicked up a notch in retro-LEGO-chic with 9V lights and a perfect Cyber Slam (the "Cyber Slam" theme was known as "Competition" outside of the US) color scheme. The use of that LEGO-branded webcam makes this project "purist" in a stricter sense than most Technic/Mindstorms people care about (still worth extra points in my book, though).

While I'd love to write more about what's going on here, how it was programmed, what mechanisms were used, etc, I don't have any more details to share. Maybe if the builder could post a second video that looks behind-the-scenes...

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