Friday, December 16, 2011

A Robot That Can Solve a Rubik's Cube Faster than a Human... and It Is Made of Legos




If you read this blog... then you are either a geek or someone who wants to know what geeks like me are thinking about!  :-)


Not being one to disappoint, I thought I would share with you something that is just chock full of technology, but serves no real purpose other than to tech for tech's sake.


As I've said before, if you are a geek, chances are you have a thing for Lego's.  I know *I* do and I know a lot of my geeky friends do too.  So, you can imagine my delight when I recently read about a robotic device that can solve the famous Ruik's Cube.  However, as they  say on those late night infomercials, "But wait... that's not all!"  Add to that the fact that the robot is made out of Legos and also uses a Samsung  Galaxy S II and you've got the making of a device that has this geek drooling.


The device is called the CubeStormer II and is a hybrid device that uses the Lego Mindstorm NXT kit to provide the robotic arms and processor to operate them. It uses the camera on the Galaxy to view and understand the colors on the cube as well as a specially configured Android App.


The best part? The robot can solve the Rubik's cube puzzle faster than any human. When you put all of these pieces together, you get a device that is thrilling to a geek and hopefully to you as well.


The following is a quote from the processor company that makes the ARM processor that powers the Samsung Galaxy S II regarding how the robot uses the camera on the  Galaxy:


"capture images of each face of the Rubik's Cube which it processes to determine the scrambled [colors]. The solution is found using an advanced two-phase algorithm, originally developed for Speedcuber, enhanced to be multi-threaded to make effective use of the smartphone's dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 1.2GHz processor. The software finds an efficient solution to the puzzle which is [optimized] specifically for the capabilities of the four-grip mechanism. The app communicates via Bluetooth with software running on the ARM microprocessors in the LEGO NXT Intelligent Bricks which controls the motors driving the robot. During the physical solve, the app uses OpenGL ES on the phone's ARM Mali-400 MP GPU to display a graphical version of the cube being solved in real time."




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