Solving Rubik’s Cubes is a learnable skill. However, to compete at the top level, you’ll have to train hard. Speed cubers can solve a 3×3 cube in under ten seconds these days, after all. [aaedmusa] was a long way off that speed, but his robot is an absolute demon that solves at a rapid pace.
The robot relies on a Teensy 4.1 microcontroller to run the show, paired with its Ethernet kit for connectivity. It runs six stepper motors via TMC2208 drivers, enabling it to directly actuate each face of the cube. Purists will note, however, that the steppers are fitted with adapters that slot directly into modified center squares on the cube. A regulation Rubik’s, this is not.
The design doesn’t feature a machine vision system to capture the state of the cube. Instead, the cube’s status must be input to a web app on an attached computer. Once the cube’s state is loaded into the program, though, the mechanical job of solving the cube can be achieved in under five seconds. Even with six actuators, that’s not fast enough to beat the human world record of 3.47 seconds, but it’s still pretty darn good.
[AndreaFavero] says that the CuboTino emphasizes simplicity and cost-savings over speed. However, solving the puzzle in about 90 seconds is still better than we can do. The plucky solver uses a Pi and a camera to understand what the cube looks like and then runs it through a solver to determine how to move.
Rubik’s cubes are a popular puzzle — one found exciting or infuriating depending on your personal bent. [PuzzLEGO] has designed a LEGO Rubik’s cube, with the latest revision improving on flimsy earlier designs.
The first step was to design a core that would allow the cube to rotate freely without being too loose. This involved a lot of trial and error until [PuzzLEGO] found just the right combination of parts to do the job. From there, it was a matter of introducing the edge pieces and corner pieces without jamming everything up.
It took some experimenting to get everything moving together smoothly, but the end result is pretty impressive. It’s certainly not a build you’d use for speedcubing; the fragility meant that it took 20 minutes to solve just one face. [PuzzLEGO] hopes to make further improvements to increase playability.
Turning on a lightbulb has never been easier. You can do it from your mobile. Voice activation through home assistants is robust. Wall switches even play nicely with the above methods. It was only a matter of time before someone decided to make it fun, if you consider a Rubik’s cube enjoyable. [Alastair Aitchison] at Playful Technology demonstrated that it is possible to trigger a relay when you match all the colors. Video also after the break.
The cube does little to obfuscate game data, so in this scope, it sends unencrypted transmissions. An ESP32 with [Alastair]’s Arduino code, can track each movement, and recognize a solved state. In the video, he solves the puzzle, and an actuator releases a balloon. He talks about some other cool things this could do, like home automation or a puzzle room, which is in his wheelhouse judging by the rest of his YouTube channel.
We would love to see different actions perform remote tasks. Twisting the top could set a timer for 1-2-3-4-5 minutes, while the bottom would change the bedroom lights from red-orange-yellow-green-blue-violet. Solving the puzzle should result in a barrage of NERF darts or maybe keep housemates from cranking the A/C on a whim.
There’s an easy way to signal to your friends and family that you’re a successful, urbane member of society – by decorating your home with tasteful references to popular culture. A classy oil painting of Yoda or a framed Tarantino movie poster is a great way to go. Alternatively, consider building yourself a swanky Rubik’s Cube lamp.
The build starts by disassembling the cube, as if you were going to cheat and reassemble it in the correct order. Instead, the cube is then gutted to make room for electronics. Inside, a ping pong ball covered in LEDs is installed, along with lithium batteries and a power board cribbed from a USB power bank. The whole assembly is laced back together with glue and frosted acrylic which acts as an retro-styled grid-like diffuser. The power button is even sneakily hidden in one of the squares!
It’s a sweet retro build that would make an excellent addition to any hip lounge room. We’re a big fan of self-contained glowing cubes here at Hackaday – we’ve covered nuclear powered and infinity designs before. Video after the break.
The system consists of computer-based software and a hardware system working in concert to solve the cube. Webcam images are processed on a computer which determines the current state of the cube, and the necessary moves required to solve it. The solving rig is constructed from steel rods, lasercut acrylic, and 3D printed parts, along with an Arduino and six stepper motors. The Arduino receives instructions from the solving computer over USB serial link. These are then used to command the stepper motors to manipulate the cube in the correct fashion.
It’s no speed demon, but the contraption is capable of solving a cube without any problems. Manipulation of the cube is reliable and smooth, and the build is neat and tidy thanks to its carefully designed components. Of course, there are now even Rubik’s Cubes that can solve themselves. Video after the break.
You can find all kinds of robots at Bay Area Maker Faire, but far and away the most interesting bot this year is the Self-Solving Rubik’s Cube built by [Takashi Kaburagi]. Gently mix up the colored sides of the cube, set it down for just a moment, and it will spring to life, sorting itself out again.
I arrived at [Takashi’s] booth at just the right moment: as the battery died. You can see the video I recorded of the battery swap process embedded below. The center tile on the white face of the cube is held on magnetically. Once removed, a single captive screw (nice touch!) is loosened to lift off the top side. From there a couple of lower corners are lifted out to expose the tiny lithium cell and the wire connector that links it to the robot.
Regular readers will remember seeing this robot when we featured it in September. We had trouble learning details about the project at the time, but since then Takashi has shared much more about what went into it. Going back to 2017, the build started with a much larger 3D-printed version of a cube. With proof of concept in hand, the design was modeled in CAD to ensure everything had a carefully planned place. The result is a hand-wired robotic core that feels like science fiction but is very, very real.
I love seeing all of the amazing robots on the grounds of the San Mateo County Event Center this weekend. There is a giant mech wandering the parking lot at the Faire. There’s a whole booth of heavy-metal quadruped bots the size of dogs. And if you’re not careful where you walk you’ll step on a scaled-down Mars rover. These are all incredible, out of this world builds and I love them. But the mental leap of moving traditional cube-solvers inside the cube itself, and the craftsmanship necessary to succeed, make this the most under-appreciated engineering at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area. I feel lucky to have caught it during a teardown phase! Let’s take a look.