Robot with ‘brains’ of a smartphone smashes Rubik world record

A robot designed by an engineer from ARM has broken the world speed record for solving a Rubik’s Cube at the Big Bang Fair at the weekend.



The Cubestormer 3 robot recorded a time of 3.253 seconds at the UK science fair in Birmingham.

It is the result of 18 months of design work by co-inventors David Gilday, a principle engineer at ARM, and Mike Dobson, a security systems engineer for Securi-Plex.

The new record beats the existing time of 5.27 seconds set two years by the same team.

“We knew it had the potential to beat the existing record but with the robot performing physical operations quicker than the human eye can see there’s always an element of risk,” said David Gilday, “Our big challenge now is working out if it’s possible to make it go even faster.”

The robot is based on a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone powered by an Exynos 5 Octa application processor with an eight-core ARM big.LITTLE implementation featuring four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 processors.

The phone analyses the cube, calculates the correct sequence of moves and instructs four robotic hands to do the manipulations.

ARM9 processors are also used in the eight Lego Mindstorms EV3 bricks which perform the motor sequencing and control.

The processor has to instruct the robot to carry out the moves. This is more complex than it seems because the cube design allows twists before the sides are fully-aligned.

“It means the robot is effectively mirroring the same kind of judgment and dexterity that a human speed cuber has to apply,” said Gilday.

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Engineering shows up at Big Bang science fair


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