A Self-Solving Rubik’s Cube

from kottke

For those of us who have never quite gotten the hang of solving the popular puzzle, some wonderful genius has constructed a self-solving Rubik’s Cube. There don’t seem to be any details available about how it works, but based on the videos, it seems likely the electronics inside record the moves when the Cube is mixed up and then simply performs them in reverse. (via fairly interesting)

More here.


14 Responses to A Self-Solving Rubik’s Cube

  1. Wilnir Louis September 28, 2018 at 3:52 pm #

    Technology and money is a blessing. That is all I can say while watching this video. It is amazing to see that someone took the time to find out a way to create a way to automatically solve one of the hardest puzzles on the planet.
    Initially, I thought that the mechanism that was being used was just one that remembered the moves that the person did to scramble the Rubix Cube. I thought it was just going to reverse every move that he did and solve the puzzle. While that still would have been impressive, I think it would have been less impressive than what was created in that video. Granted, it takes a little longer than expected to actually solve, and you have to keep an eye on it so it does not fall off a ledge or get stuck, but it was still greatly impressive what mechanism someone was able to create in that small cube.
    Even more impressive would be what the future has for a concept like that. The way that technology is now, the next step for an automatic Rubix Cube solver would be to find a way to make it more efficient, effective, and quieter. I would be interested in an automatic solver that you could put on any Rubix Cube that you find, with minimal installation. With that solver, it seemed like it took a lot of cutting, gluing, screwing, etc. A solver that you could just cover a Rubix Cube and it will solve would be great. Maybe even something like a jar that can fit a Rubix Cube that has little solver arms or spinners.
    The great thing about technology too is that my idea of a better Rubix Cube solver could be one that can be done. All it takes is a person with a bright mind that understand concepts and mechanics to do it. Not even with Rubix Cubes, but with anything. If someone has an idea, there is probably a smart person somewhere in the world who could do it.

  2. Jake Malek September 28, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

    Wow! I was really blown away watching this technology work and finish solving the rubic cube! But, when I watch this video, I’m not thinking about Rubix cubes, my mind wanders to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its possibilities. I see this as a beginning of AI and how computers are able to problem solve! AI solving problems as complex as rubix cubes makes me wonder what other problems they can solve.

    When I hear AI, my initial thought is some robot walking around in the streets. While that may be crazy, machines are in fact being implemented into our society slowly. And while AI is being added to society, a ripple effect is beginning which is including the public’s view on AI. One of the most prevalent examples of AI versus public viewpoint is AI being introduced into factories. AIs are being programmed to do simple factory jobs such as an assembly line, which in effect takes jobs away from people. The AI and the assembly man worker may be able to do the same job but each offer their own benefits. Some factory owners see the AI’s benefits, such as perfection and reliable, more important than the man worker’s benefits, which may be their adaptability. So a business owner may replace a person worker with a machine or a business owner may buy a machine instead of hiring a new factory worker. Then, how beneficial is AI to our society if it inevitably takes jobs away from the people. As we see in this video, people are increasing the machines problem solving ability which will lead to more improvements to AIs’ abilities and may lead to an increase in desirability for AI.

    The last thing I wanted to mention was to Wilnir about the “automatic solver that you could put on any Rubix Cube that you find” you mention in your response. There are have been other rubix cube machines that any rubix cube can be entered into and the machine would solve within seconds. The machine takes pictures of each side of the cube and then uses its arms to solve the cube within one seconds. Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBE46R-fD6M

    With the developing AI abilities, I believe rubix cubes is only the beginning. There are so many problems they will be used to solve, it will just take time for programmers to develop AI’s abilities. I’m excited for the future of AI.

  3. Brandon Ruiz September 28, 2018 at 6:06 pm #

    Technology is something that is a blessing and a curse in our society today. The video showing a Rubik’s cube solve itself is an example of how it can be both of those things. The Rubik’s cube turned itself and learned how to solve itself by itself. Of course that’s cool to see a Rubik’s cube solve itself, but what other kind of larger implications could something like this being possible have on our society today?

    By Looking at pictures from the making of the cube and the schematics of it, you can see that the actual cube itself has some sort of algorithm coded into it for solving Rubik’s cubes. The cube is not simply recording the moves that were made to unsolve the Rubik’s cube it is actually solving it. Fun facts left on the website “www.rubiks.com/about/cube-facts” state that it is estimated that less than 5.8% of people in the whole world can solve a Rubik’s cube. That means that the Rubik’s cube that solved itself can outsmart 7,159,200,000 people. That’s a pretty crazy thing to consider that artificial intelligence can now outsmart 94.2% of the people on earth. This is why many over the years have questioned the safety of creating extremely advanced forms of artificial intelligence. This self-solving cube can outsmart 96.2% of people in the world and it’s only a slightly complex form of artificial intelligence. Imagine what a form of artificial intelligence developed in a lab by a team of engineers and scientists could possibly do. If connected to the internet artificial intelligence could possibly learn the history of the world, about all of our cultures, languages, physics, math, science, medicine, and basically everything else it’s possible to learn about in a week. A form of artificial intelligence could possibly be created that could outsmart the whole human race. This is why scientists and engineers need to be careful about the kinds of artificial intelligence that they create. There’s a minute possibility that humans could build a form of artificial intelligence that could threaten the survival of the human race. On the other hand there’s a possibility that a form of artificial intelligence that smart could benefit our world. It might be able to cure cancer, the common cold, and other types of human sicknesses. Also it might be able to create a reliable, clean, and practical new form of energy for our world to use as a substitute to fossil fuels. Just accomplishing these two things alone would change the whole world as we know it today for the better.

    The fact that a Rubik’s cube can be made that solves itself doesn’t in itself seem to be a huge deal or concern, but the larger implications it has for the potential of artificial intelligence is. It is important that those with the proper knowledge to create things like this use their abilities and talents wisely and cautiously for the good of the human race as a whole. This is essential to the future of the human race and the world as we know it today.

  4. Michelle Vekshteyn September 28, 2018 at 6:32 pm #

    Although there was only a video and a few sentences to this article I found it very interesting, and fascinating. I am actually amongst the slim percent of individuals that are able to solve a Rubik’s Cube. When I was in fifth grade, I was in an advanced math program that took place after school. I’ll never forget the teacher that was in charge of it. She made it a point to try to get all twenty of us fifth graders to learn how to solve this colorful cube. I remember being so discouraged but ended up being amongst the 7 students that actually learned to solve it. I would come home every day and practice a new side, layer, row, or corners. I am proud to say that up until this day I am able to solve one in under two minutes. It is such a small silly skill of mine, but I stand out with it because when most people are asked if they can solve it the answer is usually no. It is pretty funny that someone invented one that can solve itself, almost as if it is doing the job for everyone. The article says that “There don’t seem to be any details available about how it works, but based on the videos, it seems likely the electronics inside record the moves when the Cube is mixed up and then simply performs them in reverse.” I thought that that sounded too good and simple to be true… I am sure someone else could have come up with such a product years ago. Then I read the comment below where people are saying that the cube is actually solving itself. It is so weird to think that an inanimate object can solve itself and have a mind of its own. I feel like a lot of articles that have been posted in the last few weeks are about artificial intelligence. Seeing this post made me a little mad, but it was nothing that was unexpected. To me it is sad that someone is genius enough to create a self-solving Rubik’s cube while most people cannot learn to solve the cube themselves. It just shows that we as a society are relying on technology to do everything for us, even have games and puzzles that should be fun to learn to solve, solving themselves.

  5. Petar Micevski September 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm #

    When it comes to puzzles, I always enjoy solving them because I enjoy learning about algorithms. When it comes to the Rubik’s cube, the algorithm has six sides, all of which could be turned three ways. These ways are clockwise, counterclockwise, and double. We can label the sides by using a single color as a point of reference. For example: if the person chose the yellow color to be the front, then the letter F would become the yellow side. You can tell which side is yellow by looking at the color of the center since the center color never moves or changes by using point of references, we can figure out the up, down, left, right, front and back sides (labeled U, D, R, L, F, B). When we add an apostrophe to the letter (denoted F’), it means that the user must turn what they denoted at the front side counterclockwise. Now let’s put this into practice. If we needed to follow a certain algorithm for solving a cube, it could read the following: (B R2 D’). In English, the algorithm states that in order to solve whatever it is tasked to solve, the user must turn the Back side clockwise, Right side twice, and the Down side counterclockwise. By following certain preconditions and algorithms, I was able to finally learn how to solve the Rubik’s cube at a young age. Currently, my best time for solving it is 37 seconds. But how do algorithms and technology go hand in hand?
    At its most basic level, computers are designed to read certain operations and commands notated by binary numbers (0’s and 1’s). When a user types a letter into a computer, that data is put in the binary form and then translated into a language that we can understand. By using a binary system, technology can reach out to many different things, which is why it covers such a large area of topics. If we can find a way to make something in the binary form (On or Off, Right or Left, Clockwise or Counterclockwise), we can apply technology to it. That is why modern technology can turn on certain appliances without you touching them. It is also the method that is used for the Rubik’s cube to solve itself. Because the algorithms of the cube are binary (either turn right or left, choose the down side or the up side), the technology in it is able to read the algorithm used to scramble the cube and apply the other binary to it. For example: if the algorithm started with turning the front side clockwise, the memory of the technology found in the cube would know that the opposite of clockwise is counterclockwise so it would know that the way to revert it back to its original position would be to turn the front side counterclockwise. This concept is used in technology today, shown in practice by Li-Fi. Li-Fi is a new way of experiencing Wi-Fi. By changing the amplitude from a light, we are able to convert it into binary numbers so we can induce video streaming. This is the future of data transmission because until now, light has only been used to illuminate our night. Now, with the ability to transmit data with the speed of light, we can reach unimaginable speed for streaming. The Ted Talk about Li-Fi is found here. https://www.ted.com/talks/harald_haas_wireless_data_from_every_light_bulb?language=en#t-67340

  6. John Skalski September 28, 2018 at 6:49 pm #

    The first reaction I had when this video finished was just how amazing this actually is. First, I thought about how I have never even solved a Rubik’s cube myself and here is this piece of technology that just solved it about a minute. I have tried many times before, but always ended up failing at being able to solve it. Then I thought about it a little bit more and got even more amazed that there is someone out there in the world that can create technology that can solve a Rubik’s cube. This world is filled with a lot of smart people and it just simply amazes me with some of the stuff that they will come up with. Finally, the part that I was most amazed with was the fact that we actually have technology that can perform actions such as this one with a Rubik’s cube. Technology is really starting to take over the world and become something that will help to advance the world.
    We have come a long way with technology over the past few decades. The advancement’s that happen always continue to amaze me and keep me wondering what the next big thing will be. One of the technological advances that has always interested me was video game graphics. I always find it amusing to watch videos on the evolution of games such as NBA 2k, Madden, and FIFA, just to name a few. When those games were first released, they did not look like that realistic at all. Now, with how technology has advanced, some of these games look really realistic even for a video game. I really enjoy watching how technology has advanced over the years because it shows how we are growing and taking advantage of the current age. The fact that someone was able to figure out how to create the technology necessary for solving a Rubik’s cube on its own is spectacular. Technology is amazing and is something that needs to continue to advance as newer and better stuff continues to come out. Imagine if we lived in the same world from what it was about 200 years ago. Everybody would be so much different and the world would not be the same that it is today. Technology has advanced businesses, schools, etc. The world has become a better place because of technology. I just hope that technology will never stop advancing and that one day we can find the full potential for what technology can really give us.

  7. Douglas Tkac September 28, 2018 at 7:21 pm #

    Besides the way this video made me feel infinitely stupid for not even being able to solve a Rubik’s Cube in my life, I must say this is so impressive for so, so many reasons.

    First off, the fact that they were able to build a Rubik’s Cube to solve itself is one thing. The fact that you don’t need some type of large mechanical arm to do all of the twisting is very cool. However, I am the most impressed at the ability for such a devise to be so compact and sized like a normal Rubik’s Cube. The fact that there isn’t some bulky, desktop-like technology connected to this blows me out of the water, and the fact that the AI system is as small as an SD card makes my head spin.

    Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, is evolving more and more every day, making contraptions such as this amazing Rubik’s Cube, and it gives this generation so many tools at their disposal for innovation for everything and anything you can think of. The fact that most of these innovations are so small, yet so powerful, just shows how far we’ve come as a species.

    The self-automated Rubik’s Cube is just one of the lesser-known examples of how AI can be utilized as such an integral part of today’s world. Possibly the most famous examples we have today are two automated AI programs that you may have heard of before: one being Siri, Apple’s everyday voice-automated personal helper, and the other being Alexa, being Amazon’s version of a security system, a cookbook, a music player, and anything else you can probably think of. These are just the more popular examples of AI technology too because of the voice interaction, as more subtle, yet not-so-subtle AI-dominated companies such as Pandora or Netflix use their AI technology every day to make suggestions for you based on songs you like or movies you may consider watching. They even use certain algorithms to detect songs or movies you may have not heard of yet, as they can detect certain songs or movie that they could deem as going “unnoticed”.

    The day that they come out with some type of AI program for fantasy football where I’ll be able to sit back, relax, take money from my friends by destroying their mediocre teams, is the day where I will finally be content with the world.

  8. Tyler Peteraf September 28, 2018 at 7:29 pm #

    Everyone knows what a Rubik’s cube is. Everyone for the most part has attempted to complete it at one point in their lives. Whether you were actually able to solve it or not is a completely different question, but to actually have a self-solving Rubik’s cube is something all on it’s on. While that is an interesting topic, I think that it speaks more to the way that technology is going in the future. The whole point of technology is to try and find a way to makes things in daily life easier. It is supposed to take something that society in a whole struggles with, and make it easier someway. While solving a Rubik’s cube isn’t necessarily groundbreaking in the sense where its’s not an everyday struggle, it does speak to what we will be able to accomplish in the future. Something as rudimentary as solving a Rubik’s cube can now be done by a robot, and I think that the point is that the thing technology will be able to accomplish will only expand and keep on advancing. Our world depends more and more on technology every single year, and it is important that we continue to improve the technology we have.

  9. Nicholas Stefanelli September 28, 2018 at 8:27 pm #

    I must say its impressive what we have done with technology. However, as I watch this video my mind cannot stop thinking why do we need this. The whole point of a Rubik’s cube is that we have to use our mind to solve it. Not only have we now diminished the value of this puzzle but also we have once again proved we are lazy.
    In reality, three things are happening when we use technology. It is making one group lazier, one group dumber, and one group smarter. People have become lazy since technology will do a lot of tough work for them as seen in the video. People are becoming dumber because they have no idea how to do something we. This has resulted in us having a product that now does its purpose its self. On the other hand, some are becoming smarter because they are learning these new technologies and how to effectively work with them. However, this is the smallest group out of then three. It is really creating this range of effects on us as a society. We see many kids texting all the time and attached to their phones; this is an example of someone becoming lazy because they are not using their own abilities to talk or find out information. In the past, you would have needed to call them or even walk to their house. Now they are in your pocket. Many people also have no idea how to do something because technology does it for them. This can be seen in my business math class when in some case with many of the students would rather not sketch a graph themselves but type into a graphing calculator and get their graph automatically made for them. Some students have no idea whatsoever on how to graph it themselves because of this. Now soon no one will know how to do a Rubik’s cube too. Finial, there is one small group of people who solve their problems with technology in a smart way. Many business owners have begun to use the Internet to advertise their products, which has a far bigger audience than any billboard, and to their favor has increased profits for them. This is because they know how dependent we are on technology and why not exploited our use of it for their own benefit. It is nothing personal just business.

  10. Jonathan Rodrigues September 28, 2018 at 8:31 pm #

    Growing up I was never able to solve a Rubik’s cube. Yes, it is embarrassing, but I can’t see myself resolving to a self-solving Rubik’s cube. Looking back though, I’m glad I endured that struggle and frustration. But the fact that this technology exists speaks volumes. Technology has progressed so far that inventors and engineers one day decided “hey, let’s make this thing solve itself”. Now think about what’s next for us? We already have self driving cars, self guided missiles and even computers that think for themselves. Our world will soon be dependent on this technology, and honestly, it’s exciting. Think about the impact and and what problems the technology of the future will solve. Diseases? Mortality even? Obviously for right now, that’s just scientific fiction. But the possibilities of the future are endless, and as a population, we should look forward to it.

  11. Sandra C October 5, 2018 at 1:44 pm #

    Throughout the years, I genuinely believe that technology has blown people away. Although many people invision that flying cars would be an option by now, it is still amazing to see how far technology has come. When I was younger, I remember my parents had bulky, brick-like phones, that were used for only making phone calls. I am fortunate to be able to grow up and see the way that technology has skyrocketed through the years. From having a flip phone to being able to carry a slim device, like an iphone that is able to take professional quality pictures, videochat, text, call, and surf the web. All-in-all, technology is forever developing.

    When it comes to the rubik’s cube, I still cannot figure out how to solve the puzzle. I can understand the frustration of “why do we need this?” and I believe that it is not just about solving a puzzle on a cube. In my opinion, you have to be able to conquer the hardest puzzle in order to be useful in other areas of life. I look at this great invention and wonder what else it be used for. Looking at the algorithm that is set in the technology, I believe this can be used for other devices. I believe the government, specifically the military, would find this useful when conducting missions. Something as small as creating a device to solve a rubik’s cube can possibly change a major part of expeditions overseas. Seeing this type of advancement in technology excites me on what has yet to come; not only for our government, but also in everyday life.

  12. Schron B October 5, 2018 at 2:57 pm #

    A self solving Rubik’s cube may seem trivial to some but its also a pretty amazing display of technology. Solving a Rubik’s cube has remained a fun little puzzle distraction that still manages to baffle people to this day. Hopefully this doesn’t springboard into a series of self solving Rubik’s cube toys because that would just defeat the purpose. But, the electronics in the cube are pretty spectacular. Its able to record the movements and solve the puzzle based on its own calculations. In the past several decades people have made such strides in technology that even something like that cube has evolved into its own piece of technology.

    One must wonder where these advancements will continue to go. If these kind of electronics are beginning to be transferred into home puzzles and toys then possibilities are wide open for other at home appliances or products. It could end up being the way that classic toys like the Rubik’s cube remain popular. Sometimes things need the necessary updates in order for them to remain relevant. Only time will tell if the self solving Rubik’s cube ever takes off like its predecessor.

  13. Michael Martini October 5, 2018 at 8:55 pm #

    The video I just watched really impressed me because I personally do not know how to solve a Rubix cube myself. After seeing that, I now realize even further how much technology has advanced, even throughout my short time of life. The time and effort the person put into creating a self-solving cube is truly magnificent. If engineers are able to create something life this, it only keeps me wondering what other tricks they have up their sleeve. All of these theories people have on things such as flying cars really would not be a surprise to me because I believe that anything is possible. I always disagreed with the idea of self-driving cars because to me it seemed like it would never work, but recently technology has improved so above and beyond that we are now seeing things like this. It causes me to believe that with the proper knowledge, time, and dedication, we can achieve anything we put our minds to. The Rubix cube has evolved into something so much more beyond just a cube that seemed impossible to solve. Now it is making a huge impact on the world and causing people to step out of their comfort zones into brainstorming new ideas and experiments.

  14. Zach Towlen October 21, 2018 at 11:06 pm #

    This article is something so interesting and fascinating that it takes your mind off of the more important real things going on in the world. Sometimes you and me need a break from all of the violence and mainstream important issues all over the news. It brings out the best in technology and how people are continuing to innovate everything. Even though it is as simple as a rubik’s cube, this brings us light that computer generation matched with robotics is evolving us into the next generation of technology. From a lucky person who was able to learn the algorithms in which solve a rubik’s cube, it was most likely more difficult to program this to solve it. I would assume it took multiple trial and error situations to perfect this playful technology and get it just right.
    Seeing the video and going further into the original article where it has the pictures of what is inside the robotic cube, it shows the glory of artificial intelligence and what it’s capability can truly get to. It also shows how an AI perfects its craft. There is no possible way that an AI would be able to solve this on it’s first try. That is where artificial intelligence gains its edge though because they practice the golden rule of sports, practice makes perfect. The robotics behind the self-solving cube had to of continuously gone through trial and error until it finally figured out the algorithms required to solve the cube.
    From a business point of view, the original creators of this could patent this technology and manufacture a self-solving rubik’s cube. There are a vast number of silly toys in retail outlets right now that this product could and will outsell if they decide on doing this. This idea and technology I believe can be applied elsewhere. Using this artificial intelligence on other items that need to be solved close to a rubik’s cube or even just using the technology of trail and error on other ideas. The future is bright for artificial intelligence and I am happy that this article took me away from the everlasting upsetting news headlines.

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