So a LEGO robot might be able to monster a Rubik’s cube in a little over three seconds, but put together a dedicated machine from a more flexible part list and well, the popular multi-coloured puzzle gets dominated. Try 1.019 seconds on for size.
A pair of guys on YouTube by the names of Jay Flatland and Paul Rose built there own mechanical solver using an array of webcams, 3D printed frames and stepper motors. There’s nothing inherently complex about the setup — in fact, it looks like more work went into the software:
As you can see in the image, the program takes the image input from the cameras and converts it into a “unrolled” version for human consumption, as well as something the solver can understand. The robot is wired to function only when all cameras are working, so priming is done by simply putting paper in front of one of the lenses.
The machine gets a few runs over the course of the 3:39 video, returning a total of three results: 1.196s, 1.047s and a smoking 1.019s right at the end. Apparently they’re sorting out official recognition for breaking the world record… and I imagine they’ll get it.