For the next few months, your job is to create a robot that can solve Rubik’s Cube. Really fast. Here is your paycheck. Oh, and you have to do it with Legos …
The previous record for solving a Rubik’s Cube was 5.66 seconds, held by Australian Feliks Zemdegs. It was one of the last remaining tactical advantages mankind held over the machines, but now it’s gone.
Called the Cubestormer II, this ingenious robot is made entirely out of Lego, including four Mindstorms NXT kits. For the brain and processing power, the creators chose to use a Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone since development on Android is open, making it much easier to get a custom app together to control the machine. Using a Bluetooth connection, the Samsung Galaxy S II communicates with the ARM processors in the NXT kits, telling them which way to manipulate the cube to reach a solution.
Using the camera on the smartphone, Cubestormer II anaylzes each face of the cube, running the images through a two phase algorithm that is optimized to make use of the dual core processor the Samsung Galaxy S II sports. From there, the app figures out the best way to solve the cube, then interprets that information into the movements for the robot. While all of that is going on, the phone is also using OpenGL to display a 3D image of the progress of the solution to the puzzle alongside timing the solve.