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Robotics Toys Hardware Idle

Lego Robot Solves Bigger and Harder Rubik's Cubes 63

kkleiner writes "It was only two months ago that we saw Mike Dobson's Cube Stormer Lego robot that could solve any 3x3 Rubik's cube in less than 12 seconds. You would think that there was only one person in the world crazy enough and talented enough to pull this off, but now we have found someone else that is just as amazing. The latest Rubik's cube-solving Lego monstrosity is called the MultiCuber, and although it's constructed out of nothing but Mindstorms components and a laptop, it can solve 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, and 5×5 cubes all in the same build! As if that weren't enough, a larger version solves the dreaded 6×6 Rubik's. We discovered the MultiCuber when its creator, David Gilday (IAssemble), wrote us an email to brag about its puzzle-solving might. Consider us impressed, sir."
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Lego Robot Solves Bigger and Harder Rubik's Cubes

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  • heeey.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by socceroos ( 1374367 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:57PM (#32025406)
    That is kinda cool. Can it make me a sandwich? No? Oh.... Well then.
  • by tpstigers ( 1075021 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @10:02PM (#32025456)
    Just when you think they've peaked, Legos get even cooler.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How much cooler? Does the coolness increase linearly with the size of the cube - 2, 3, 4, 5... n Fonzies? Or does it go as the cube of the size? Perhaps it's exactly as cool as before because it solves the same problem.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No actually most of us stopped caring after the first robot was made. "OH MY GOD IT CAN SOLVE 36x36 cubes" *snores*
  • Does it have to be one of those well-broken-in, lubricated cubes that easily spin, or does it work with a stiff cube just out of the packaging? I'd bet it would not.
    • Lubed Cubes? Oh well, if it is sensitive to initial conditions then.

    • by tsalmark ( 1265778 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @10:39PM (#32025708) Homepage
      well-broken-in, lubricated and stiff all in the same sentence, but no sex, only on slashdot.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Does it have to be one of those well-broken-in, lubricated cubes that easily spin, or does it work with a stiff cube just out of the packaging? I'd bet it would not.

      For times well under a minute, at least a lubricated one. Even speed cubers use graphite or something. And those one-handled cubers (the ones who solve two cubes simultaneously) require it - I don't think one hand has enough agility and strength to do the twists of a brand new cube.

  • by tsalmark ( 1265778 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @10:36PM (#32025682) Homepage
    But that little "and a laptop" covers a whole bunch of the needed magic.
    • by Volante3192 ( 953645 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @10:56PM (#32025842)

      Yeah, if only someone could build a robot capable of doing something without having to be programmed, that'd be AWESOME!

      • not so much that as: mindstorm was not the main part of the solution.
      • I have to agree with the former. the mindstorm stuff is cool, but if I am reading and watching it right, the 'solution' is handled at the software level. It would be the same as the computer telling you what moves to process to solve one. Kinda like having those old chess games that would tell you where to move its pieces as you were playing it. The laptop is the solution/brain, the mindstorms are a very slick, but inherently non-intelligent interface.

        • That applies to all robots though, like this:

          The carving side, essentially, is dumb and just doing what HyperMill tells it to do, but without the carving side the software is useless.

          To write off mindstorms simply because they require "a computer" pretty much writes off every other robot as well because they need a computer to do the job as well.

          I guess I'm wondering how you would view a Willow Garage PR2 [] solving the rubik's cube. Is that more 'le

    • And of course the actual thinking that has gone into it from both the builder(s) and the programmer(s) to make it actually be able to work. That also doesn't come from Lego.

      The "only" magic that comes out of the Lego factory is of course in the form of accurate actuators, step motors, position sensors, and whatnot built into that hardware.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by n17ikh ( 750948 )

      The same guy has built a cube solver powered by an NXT and a nokia phone [] doing the processing, and could easily do the same with just an NXT (two, maybe?) since there is plenty of processing power there and it can even do the image recognition. People have already done this, in fact.

    • by cmacb ( 547347 )

      I don't think it really counts until they can also build the computer that calculates the solution out of legos.

    • Yep, the NXT is just acting as an IO card at this point... which you can do with any hardware really...

      It takes away most of the "boring" task of doing the physical construction and circuitry for the robot. That is really all the NXT is doing...

      (boring in quotes as I actually enjoy that part quite a lot..)

  • by adosch ( 1397357 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @10:39PM (#32025712)

    I have spent a good chunk of time trying to solve Rubik's cube my brute force (when I started) and after understanding the true mechanics and a small big of mathematics, I've gotten better, not nothing that rivals these Legato Storms!

    However at a garage sale awhile back, I found Alexander's Star [], which is a 12-pointed star cube oddity similiar (or rival) to the Rubik's cube I could only assume. I'd love to see a Mindstorm tackle this bad boy; I still haven't come even close to figuring this one out.

  • by Rick Bentley ( 988595 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:05AM (#32026268) Homepage
    sub 20 seconds, reliably: []
  • by Trip6 ( 1184883 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:18AM (#32026346)

    ...the robot only actuates the solution.

  • It's definitely cool to look at. I'll give you that. And it's cool that someone was able to take a concept involving both AI and robotics and actually build it to completion.

    But from a computer science perspective, it's really not a huge deal. First off, although I personally would probably struggle a bit with the robotics because I don't do robotics, I know people who do, and they would find this robot to be mechanically rather trivial. Then the brains behind it, the algorithms to solve rubic's cubes,

  • "wrote us an email to brag about its puzzle-solving might"
    That's what she said!! (
  • Big deal. Call me when it can do a 4 dimensional Rubik's cube.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky