Analysis

Robot to solve a Rubik's Cube in under 5.27 seconds

13th March 2014
Nat Bowers

At the Big Bang Fair, March 15th at the NEC in Birmingham, UK, the CUBESTORMER 3 robot will attempt to break the Guinness World Records title for solving a Rubik’s Cube. CUBESTORMER 3 uses ARM processor technology and has started final testing. The current record of 5.27 seconds was set two years ago by its predecessor, CubeStormer II.

The new robot employs an ARM-powered Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone to analyse the cube and instruct four robotic hands to do the manipulations. ARM9 processors also power the eight LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 bricks which perform the motor sequencing and control.

CUBESTORMER 3 is the result of effort in their spare time over 18 months by co-designers David Gilday, a principal engineer at ARM, and Mike Dobson, a security systems engineer for Securi-Plex. The new design features upgraded mechanics including a precision independent braking system that will bring significant speed benefits. The software has also been optimised to take advantage of the increased mechanical flexibility as well as the compute power gains.

The previous record-setting attempt went viral on YouTube, drawing some 4m views and CUBESTORMER 3 is expected to draw equal attention on-line and from the crowds expected at this year’s Big Bang Fair. Guinness World Records editor-in-chief, Craig Glenday, will be present to adjudicate at the event.

David Gilday, comments: “The record-breaking attempt is a bit of fun for us. Our real focus is to demonstrate what can be achieved with readily-available technology to inspire young minds into taking a greater interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We’re already seeing robot technology deployed widely in the manufacturing industry but there is now potential for robots to cope with disruption. You can easily imagine a robot able to deal with minor surgical procedures or perhaps even a Michelin-starred robot chef? While the human brain is still far more powerful than any processor, it would be fantastic to see technology with real human-kind benefits being created by someone inspired by seeing CUBESTORMER 3 in action.”

“We are very confident the robot will break the record,” said Dominic Vergine, head of corporate responsibility at ARM. “The new robot can think three times faster than its older brother. The older robot was using intelligence from a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 based Samsung Electronics’ Exynos 4 Dual application processor in a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone. CUBESTORMER 3 will use a Galaxy S4 equipped with an Exynos 5 Octa application processor with an eight-core ARM big.LITTLE implementation featuring four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 processors.”

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