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Android Phone Solves Rubik's Cube In 12.5 Seconds

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the varies-with-the-cube dept.

Android 76

DeviceGuru writes "A Lego Mindstorms robotics kit controlled by an HTC Nexus One smartphone successfully untangled a Rubik's Cube puzzle in 12.5 seconds at this weeks ARM technical conference in Silicon Valley. The current 3x3x3 cube-solvers's 15-second average represents a substantial improvement over the 25-second solutions of an earlier version, which was powered by a circa-2006 Nokia N95 smartphone, thanks to a faster (1GHz) CPU, more RAM, and revamped cube-solving algorithms. ARM Engineer David Gilday, who created the robotic cube-solver, claims the current version's algorithms can handle cube complexities up to 100x100x100, assuming he build the mechanics. In terms of racing humans, Gilday says the Lego robotics kits can only manage around 1.5 moves per second, whereas human players can make between 5 and 6 moves per second, amazingly enough." Update: 11/12 03:45 GMT by T : Apologies to creator David Gilday, whose name was earlier misspelled.

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I don't play Rubik's Cube (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201326)

It's a solved game. There's a known winning strategy. What's the fun in that?

Re:I don't play Rubik's Cube (2, Insightful)

darkrowan (976992) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201444)

I'll take you as trying to troll, but the old adage "It is not the destination but the journey" seems to fit in this case.

Re:I don't play Rubik's Cube (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202334)

Completely agree.

Try to solve it on your _own_ without using anybody else's posted solution. Memorable 6 hours of my life.

The same would apply to sudoku. Too easy, doesn't take that long, etc., but it helps keep the brain active.

If the grand-parent is bitching about it, why doesn't he write his _own_ solver?

--
Inner Space, NOT Outer Space is the Final Frontier.

Re:I don't play Rubik's Cube (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201472)

It's a solved game. There's a known winning strategy. What's the fun in that?

Not to mention it probably took a crap load of hours just trying to shave a few seconds off the process by revamping the cube-solving algorithms. There's no net gain by running this thousands of times just to try to break even. Why not try to get the people who staff my local drive thrus to put down their Androids so they can serve us faster. Now that would be an achievement.

It is pretty cool that they can do this. I wonder if they can program it to knock the cube out of the human's hands?

so... (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201342)

In terms of racing humans, Gilder says the Lego robotics kits can only manage around 1.5 moves per second, whereas human players can make between 5 and 6 moves per second, amazingly enough.

So, if we could build an ARM-powered human, it could solve the Rubik's Cube in 2-3 seconds?

Re:so... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201362)

most humans have arms

Re:so... (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201410)

+1 Informative.

I did not know that.

Re:so... (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201588)

Re:so... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201976)

This would be more helpful.

http://www.worldofstock.com/slides/PCU2137.jpg [worldofstock.com]

Re:so... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202008)

Maybe not, if this is what it serves up:

http://www.worldofstock.com/images/hotlink.jpg [worldofstock.com]

Re:so... (1)

eltaco (1311561) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202594)

so copy the link and open it up in a new window to get rid of the referrer.

Re:so... (1)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205212)

Or just right click and 'open in new tab' which is what I did and why I didn't understand what blair1q was talking about.

Re:so... (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205052)

God bless the second amendment

Re:so... (2, Funny)

Xachariah (995669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34204076)

You failed your DC 25 Human Lore check.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34202170)

Humans also have 1 ball, 1 breast, and half a dick.

On average.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34203382)

dual arms even!

Re:so... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34204904)

More so in the US. It's in the Constutution, after all.

Re:so... (1)

geoffball (1195685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206212)

More so in the US. It's in the Constutution, after all.

It doesn't explicitly say that. But I believe the "Wifebeater" clause as interpreted by the Supreme Court does permit one to go sleeveless.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209534)

Wait! So now there's a constitution check also?

Re:so... (1, Interesting)

MichaelKristopeit161 (1934886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201388)

the problem is the qualifier "CAN make"... the precondition being only certain subsets of 5 and 6 moves can be made in 1 second. the moves necessary to solve the cube will not always fall within those subsets.

i can solve any cube in under 3 minutes and that's fast enough for me.

Re:so... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201440)

how long does it take to shove up your ass?

Re:so... (3, Funny)

MichaelKristopeit172 (1936956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201532)

how long does it take to shove up your ass?

It depends if I do it 'corner first' or if I try to make it fit 'flat side up'. Either way I can top the 5 - 6 moves per second.

I am PATHETIC.

Re:so... (0, Offtopic)

MichaelKristopeit161 (1934886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201592)

"MichaelKristopeit172" is operated by a pathetic individual attempting to steal my identity.

to the individual responsible: present yourself to me, admit what you've done; and i will bring upon you the ultimate punishment for your transgressions.

granted, i wouldn't want to admit that i was you either.

you ARE completely pathetic.

Re:so... (1)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201770)

Wow, that was trippy...

Re:so... (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202400)

I like Michael Kristopeit because he keeps me aware of the current /. UID count. All the better for me to try to snag 1999991, 1999999, 2000000, or 20000002 when the opportunity arises in a couple months. He's also, through his many accounts, probably the most powerful moderator on /.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34204298)

Now read this thread just after watching "Inception"

Re:so... (1)

MichaelKristopeit172 (1936956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34203332)

MichaelKristopeit161 [slashdot.org] is operated by a pathetic individual attempting to steal the identity of MichaelKristopeit131 [slashdot.org] , MichaelKristopeit105 [slashdot.org] , MichaelKristopeit 89 [slashdot.org] , MichaelKristopeit 68 [slashdot.org] , MichaelKristopeit 45 [slashdot.org] , MichaelKristopeit 28 [slashdot.org] , MichaelKristopeit 10 [slashdot.org] and every number in between.

Slashdot limits users to one account for each voice in their head.

Re:so... (1)

MichaelKristopeit132 (1934228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34203912)

"MichaelKristopeit172" is operated by a pathetic individual attempting to steal my identity.

to the individual responsible: present yourself to me; admit what you've done, then i will bring upon you the ultimate punishment for your transgressions.

slashdot does NOTHING to limit users. you're an idiot AND a liar.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:so... (0, Offtopic)

MichaelKristopeit172 (1936956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34203942)

MichaelKristopeit132? Are you copying me or are you just another voice in your head?

Roses are red, violets are blue,
You are MichaelKristopeit, and so are you and you and you

Will the real MichaelKristopeit please sit down and shut up?

Re:so... (1)

MichaelKristopeit132 (1934228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34204516)

"MichaelKristopeit172" is operated by a pathetic individual attempting to steal my identity.

to the individual responsible: present yourself to me; admit what you've done, then i will bring upon you the ultimate punishment for your transgressions.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:so... (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205346)

man you're bored

Re:so... (1)

MichaelKristopeit160 (1934884) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209014)

ur mum's face is bored

Re:so... (1)

MichaelKristopeit121 (1933108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209212)

the truth (score:1) = overrated.

slashdot = stagnated.

Re:so... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201516)

So, if we could build an ARM-powered human, it could solve the Rubik's Cube in 2-3 seconds?

Yes, but if you wanted to you could probably build a high speed, high precision tool to solve it in way less than a second. It's Lego after all, it's cool but it's not exactly built for performance.

Re:so... (2, Informative)

MichaelKristopeit161 (1934886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201562)

the precision is limited by the joints in the cube... if you are eliminating the physical act of manipulating the cube, then yes, you could solve in under 1 seconds, but i highly doubt a machine could physically solve a randomized cube in under 1 second including analyzing and computing time. a custom cube with custom bearings and springs might help to get the time lower, but then you're not really solving a rubik's cube.

Re:so... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201732)

Put the "robot" in the cube's hub. Use fast motors. Titanium or carbon fiber to get strength and low weight from the faces and axles.

1 second might be doable.

Re:so... (1)

MichaelKristopeit161 (1934886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201882)

you're no longer solving a rubik's cube... you're just solving something that looks like a rubik's cube.

why not replace the stickers with small color displays that adjust themselves in 5ms?

Re:so... (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205454)

5ms? You need to upgrade those tiny screens.

Re:so... (1)

MichaelKristopeit119 (1933106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209052)

considering you'd need 54 tiny screens and a controller, 5 milliseconds seems, if anything, on the fast side.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201642)

Meh. Been there, done that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMWWN07PShA

The best part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201368)

At about 6 seconds into this film i noticed the dude in the background looking at the computer. I'm pretty sure that's what every /.'er looks like while they're reading this post.

Total Moves Not Moves/second (1)

vortex2.71 (802986) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201382)

The total moves required to reach a solution is usually more important than the moves per second. While the robot is slower to physically move the device, it is probably moving the cube more efficiently than many humans. For instance, I can solve the cube, but do so by only moving one square at a time. More advanced solvers can move several squares simultaneously... a good computer will come up with the most efficient moves to solve the puzzle.

Re:Total Moves Not Moves/second (5, Informative)

Kunnis (756642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201518)

The best solution for a rubix cube is always less then 20 moves (see http://www.cube20.org/ [cube20.org] ) It averages around 18 moves for the best solution. That's 27 seconds to solve on average. Where this 11 second youtube video shows a guy solving a cube.. in less then 11 seconds. I can do it in about 60 seconds and I'm not very good. Also, before using computerized solutions, you have to know your whole solution. The manual solutions you can figure out as you go along... you can figure out your next steps while you're manipulating your current step.

Re:Total Moves Not Moves/second (2, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202022)

I can do it in about 60 seconds and I'm not very good.

I would think anyone who can solve a Rubik's Cube in around a minute could consider themselves good.

I seem to recall an article about Will Smith and how he was taking up speedcubing. His teacher said a good goal for the average person - the point where they "get it" - is about 2 minutes. So you're at least twice as good at something as Will Smith.

Incidentally, have you tried rapping lately?

Re:Total Moves Not Moves/second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34202284)

I never timed myself and I never really figured out my own solution to the cube. A math professor I knew in college taught me a solution that he had figured out, that he had designed as being especially easy to learn (basically you unscramble one layer at a time). I think it tended to take 30-35 moves. He had much shorter ways to solve the cube himself. With his "simple" solution that he taught me, you could see the solved layers emerge as the solution progressed, but with the solutions he used himself, the cube looked scrambled almost all the way to the end where everything fell in place.

Anyway, the "simple" solution he taught me really didn't require much thinking once you knew how it went. It was always obvious what to do next. So completing it in one minute would have been just under 2 seconds per move, not difficult at all. Therefore I think I could have gotten to that speed with just a tiny bit of practice. I never tried to go for speed though, and I've long since forgotten the solution so I'd have to learn it again before I could time myself. As I remember, it took him about 15 minutes to teach me all the steps, but of course I'd have to find him again and ask if he was willing to re-explain.

Re:Total Moves Not Moves/second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34202764)

Are you sure he didn't publish it? I recall there was a very small book titled something like "The Simple Solution to the Rubik's Cube". The first couple of pages covered the notation, and the rest described a layered solution - top, middle, bottom corners, then bottom edges.

Well, let's try google...holy crap! [amazon.com] I'm not surprised that I found it, but rather that they're collectible, and one in new condition is being offered for nearly $1000. Unreal.

- T

Re:Total Moves Not Moves/second (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202290)

I think I can beat Mike Tyson.

Re:Total Moves Not Moves/second (1)

Kunnis (756642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34203060)

What I acutally ended up doing was borrowing a co-worker's cube and messing with a bunch. Once you solve it a few dozen times, the action gets a lot smoother and it's faster to handle. I know the solutions I was doing were a lot more then 30 moves, but they were very simple to memorize, so I was able to do them quickly. I think I memorized a total of about 8 patterns, this is the site I used. http://peter.stillhq.com/jasmine/rubikscubesolution.html [stillhq.com] There are a few cases where I have to do the same pattern multiple times, but they are simple, so I learned to do them quickly without much delay.

So now it's Android time? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201400)

I remember reading countless iphone stories which were completely pointless - anything done over iphone has been reported as some sort of nerd news on /. - and it was a good indication of rabid hype of otherwise ordinary electronic device.

Now we see similarly pointless Android stories.

This can only mean one thing - Android has arrived.

Re:So now it's Android time? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201660)

Are you saying writing an app for the iPhone that only farts and makes other 'bodily noises' doesn't have any inherent value? Then you're sure not going to like "Chili Cheese's Raunchy Ringtone Collection". Best ringtones around (even better when they're combined with 'vibrate' mode).

Greasing the skids... (3, Informative)

CokoBWare (584686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201416)

"Gilder says the Lego robotics kits can only manage around 1.5 moves per second, whereas human players can make between 5 and 6 moves per second, amazingly enough."

Only if the cubes are greased well, otherwise they're stuck with wrestling the bloody things.

Does it matter it was done with ARM? (2, Insightful)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201432)

Maybe I'm just missing the excitement of this, but architecture aside, we know Rubik's cubes have predestined, mathematical (logical) approach to solving them, so really having any computational device (even like a microcontroller) can do that. I'd like to people fine-tune the robotic mechanics around turning and changing the cube, so it can start rivaling human solving speeds. I think that's were the feat would get a lot more interesting than seeing the next xyz-embedded computing device controlling another Lego Mindstorm.

Re:Does it matter it was done with ARM? (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34204290)

I'd be curious to know exactly how limited the hardware could be while still implementing the cube solving algorithm. Clock speeds are just a matter of patience, half the speed just means waiting twice as long; but there has to be an amount of RAM below which the algorithm Just Can't Be Done.

As for the hardware side, I imagine that the guys who do really serious high speed CNC machinery could probably achieve better-than-human speeds, though the device would probably cost 100k and require the cube to be continuously sprayed with a coolant/lubricant fluid to avoid thermal or mechanical damage...

Another interesting(and potentially cheaper; but with an exciting element of danger!) possibility would be if you allowed yourself to glue a suitably powerful magnet to each surface subcube of the cube, so you could then manipulate it without physical contact, other than one support point, by surrounding it with an array of electromagnets...

Ah yes... (2, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201462)

> thanks to a faster (1GHz) CPU, more RAM, and revamped cube-solving algorithms.

I love how a few hundred million math operations per second is no longer enough for our phones, while most information in the human voice is under 8Mhz, IIRC.

It feels a little like the math we teach our children is teaching them how to play with rocks in a cave. But they will never, ever, do what the computer is able to do already.

Though they will do other cool stuff.

Re:Ah yes... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201904)

8kHz not 8MHz and that is the sampling frequency since POTS are 300Hz to 3400Hz

Re:Ah yes... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202350)

If by "math" you mean applying existing algorithms, you're right. But the fun part (and what mathematicians have always done) in Math is devising those algorithms. I'm happy to leave boring, repetitive work to machines.

Android Phone DOESNT Solve: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201484)

the software does, moron.

I think the story poster has a future at F.ear O.pression X.enophobia [foxnews.com] .

Yours In Akademgorodok,
Kilgore Trout

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201616)

A human can do it in 7 seconds : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzGjbjUPVUo

Now do it with... (4, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201672)

A 3x3x3x3 hypercube.
A cube where all the faces are slightly different shades of yellow.
A cube where all the faces are pictures of people's faces.
A cube made of jello cubes.
A cube made of Plutonium-238 .

Re:Now do it with... (4, Funny)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201798)

or... a time cube!

Re:Now do it with... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34201986)

Earth has 4 corner
simultaneous 4-day
RUBIK'S CUBE
in only 12.5 second rotation.
    -- xlq

Re:Now do it with... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202024)

While voice-dialing Domino's.

Don't you mean... (1)

Burning Plastic (153446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202446)

The Route of Ages?

Re:Now do it with... (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202218)

A 3x3x3x3 hypercube.

Here you go. [superliminal.com]

Re:Now do it with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34202756)

shouldn't that be a 4x4x4x4 hypercube?

Re:Now do it with... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34204916)

No. 3 is the number of units along one edge of the whole face facing you. A 3 x 3 x 3 cube has 3 units along one edge, a 4 x 4 x 4 has 4 units. Very simple n+1 quantity where n is the number of parallel junctions it is possible to rotate a section of the face about.

A 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 Hypercube would have 3 units along each edge, 2 parallel points of rotation. Including the edge you're having trouble picturing right now.

There is one MUCH faster (1, Informative)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201884)

If you haven't seen this mind storm version, you may be impressed. It has done it in 2 seconds!

Cube Stormer [youtube.com]

Re:There is one MUCH faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34203196)

Well done on posting a video without watching it first! A full solve took it 10.75 seconds. The shorter times were for simple tests.

Cubestormer? (1)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201946)

There was an article about the cubestormer quite a few months ago here on Slashdot. It seems to be able to solve the cube much quicker, and it just looks a lot more sturdy. See video here.. [youtube.com] So is it really that impressive that they did this using an ARM?

Someone got carried away (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34201970)

Someone got carried away ...
emulating those DROID platform ads [youtube.com] .
I'm hoping the real cube solver adds no fake robot sounds to its rotating arms.

Source / Instructions available? (1)

landoltjp (676315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34202650)

Great demo! Will Mr. Gilder consider publishing the plans for the solving machine and the application source? T'would be cool!

That girl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34203742)

That girl in the beginning of the video is SO CUTE. Who is she? I want to marry her :/

Human Records (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34204856)

The best average time for the human solvers is 8.52 seconds (with 5 consecutive cubes), and the best time for a single cube is 7.08 seconds:

http://www.worldcubeassociation.org/results/regions.php [worldcubeassociation.org]

Single 7.08 Erik Akkersdijk Netherlands Czech Open 2008
Average 8.52 Feliks Zemdegs Australia New Zealand Champs 2010

Getting 12.5 seconds from a single solve is not what I can call a benchmark.
However, there is a larger progress' margin for computers than for humans.

Re:Human Records (1)

ToxIk_Waste (1019424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34222208)

FYI, both these records were just broken by Feliks Zemdegs. That kid is a cubing prodigy. Also, for each average of 5 solves the best and worst times are dropped.

Unfortunately... (1)

JHaselden (11680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205216)

Oracle have deemed this solution to be covered by copyrighted code inherited from Sun and are currently in the process of suing Lego. Because Larry needs a new dinghy.

Nostalgia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206480)

Wow, it's been a long time since I've seen anything about Lego Mindstorms. This makes me want to go find my old kit and start building robots again.

Except I think it got thrown out a few years ago. Spring Cleaning, I hate thee.

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