back to article Student geeks build Rubik’s cube solving bot

A cluster of Australian engineering students at Swinburne University of Technology have invented a robot, named Ruby, that can solve a Rubik’s Cube in the world record time of 10 seconds. Getting the puzzle solved in a robot poses two difficult problems: working out the solution really quickly, and having the robot move the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    This one is boring compared to the other one that was built earlier this year using Lego mindstorms. Now that was entertaining to watch and appealed to inner child.

    I think that also had a record of about 8 seconds from a random start so it was faster as well.

    1. Joefish
      Thumb Down

      The article does seem to completely ignore 'CubeStormer'.

      That has a video up showing a completely random solve in 10.75 seconds and several ones that are far, far quicker. So how is this 'record' determined?

  2. jake Silver badge

    Well bloody done!

    Nice job, kids! I don't often applaud (literally) an ElReg story, but that video got me a-clappin'. Again, nice job!

  3. proto-robbie


    Well done chaps - a wonderful combination of theory and practice in the pursuit of fruitless frippery. Have a XXXX on me.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Not the first

    A couple of years back one of the engineers at ARM built a cube solving robot using Lego and a Nokia N95. It was not as fast as this, about 3 minutes, but it did show what you can do with a mobile phone.

  5. stucs201

    Or the Short Circuit approach

    "Disassemble" "Reassemble"

    1. Nigel 11

      Dismantle - Not faster

      Dismantle ... reassemble is not faster if you have got a good cube-solving algorithm on board. You have to make less than twenty 90 degree twists of the appropriate face. Human cube-solving speed-freaks routinely break ten seconds. A computer can form the operation list in milliseconds or less, and the speed is determined by the robotics.

      I think dismantle - reassemble will always take longer on the mechanical front for human or robot. It also requires a tool to prize out one of the side-centre pieces to start the dismantlement, especially if you don't want to add "pick it up from the floor on the other side of the room" to the algorithm!

      1. stucs201

        I never said it was faster.

        "Short Circuit" in reference to a film with a robot which says "Disassemble" and "Reassemble" quite a bit. Not "Short Circuit" as in faster.

        (Terminator? No Johny 5 icon available)

      2. Stevie Silver badge


        The "tool" required is the human thumb.

        I used to use this trick all the time when the cube-nerds appeared in-theatre (and they always would when the damned things first came out).

        cn: "Go on. Scramble it. I bet I can solve it in <n> seconds".

        yt: " Okay" (Turns back to sniggering of cube-nerd, scrambles cube as per request, gives nearest side a half twist to align middle tile with corner of layer below, pops out tile with thumb and rotates it 180 degrees before replacing it and scrambles some more before handing unsolvable cube back to owner)

        And the fun was seeing how many seconds it would take before the cube-nerd would twig.

  6. Elmer Phud Silver badge


    Shirley they are 'Student Boffins'?

    1. Neil 23


      "Baby Boffins"?

      1. lawndart



  7. Spartacus

    Nothing new...

    Its been done in lego..

    And seriously too:

    1. dssf

      2007; Japanese Robot

  8. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    6 seconds

    I'm surprised his hands don't shatter!

  9. Ehrine


    That time given is actually wrong. They're measuring the time _including_ studying the cube before the solve. The Cubinator, as well as humans, have time to inspect before they start the timed solve (15 seconds for humans). The video for this machine included the inspection in the time - it didn't start twisting the cube till about 3 seconds in...

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Do they throw the cube into an incinerator afterwards?

    Well, that' s cool.

    That's definitely cool.

    How did they manage to assemble a team of engineering students large enough without most wandering off to more important callings like holidays, beer parties and significant others? A sociological mystery.

  11. Patrick R

    Close the box !

    The popcorn effect must be quite spectacular as well.

  12. Marvin the Martian

    "A cluster of Comp Sci students"

    Is "cluster" indeed the correct collective noun here? Shouldn't it be a "cloud" now?

    /goes back to feed his little Beowulf

    1. Dodgy Pilot


      I think you'll find that the correct collective noun is a "Gaggle" of students.

      1. Ian Yates


        I'd have thought it was "union", or maybe "pub" or "party". But I like "cluster".

  13. Ru

    Worst. Photo. Ever.

    Is that the best you could find?

  14. Def Silver badge


    I'm thoroughly enjoying the big box it all sits in. Is that to protect the audience from bits of flying cube when it realises it's out of time and starts throwing a benny?

  15. Chris Seiter

    Same Pattern

    I keep watching the video over and over again and the guy just keeps mixing the cube up the same way. I think they just programmed one solution into the robot.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's nothing

    All about the people who strapped an etch-a-sketch to some stepper-motors and programmed it to draw a circle. (Requires the knobs to be turned in a sine wave)

  17. Simbu


    What a bunch of squares...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    beats my personal best

    34 seconds.

    And that was with a cube that had been disassembled, had all of the burrs sanded off, and coated in graphite..

    That was over 20 years ago. I don't know if I could do it at all now.

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