Machine solves Rubik's cube in the blink of an eye

This machine solves Rubik's cube in no more than 0.38 seconds. This is much faster than the previous world record of 0.637 seconds and its creators, Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo, think there's plenty of optimization space left.

That was a Rubik's cube being solved in 0.38 seconds. The time is from the moment the keypress is registered on the computer, to when the last face is flipped. It includes image capture and computation time, as well as actually moving the cube. The motion time is ~335 ms, and the remaining time image acquisition and computation. For reference, the current world record is/was 0.637 seconds.

The machine can definitely go faster, but the tuning process is really time consuming since debugging needs to be done with the high speed camera, and mistakes often break the cube or blow up FETs. Looking at the high-speed video, each 90 degree move takes ~10 ms, but the machine is actually only doing a move every ~15 ms. For the time being, Jared and I have both lost interest in playing the tuning game, but we might come back to it eventually and shave off another 100 ms or so.

This makes me think of movies which depict mankind fighting the machines. A careful fantasy is often constructed, where the machines are superior in speed, durability and capability to humans, but not so much so that ingenuity and cunning cannot overcome them.

The truth is that the gun turret will detect you, turn on you, shoot you and kill you as fast as this robot knocks out the cube. The drone will not float idly before you taking its sweet time to scan, upload and determine your status; it will have enfiladed your arteries within half a second of detecting your presence. The Robots will not take fully 6 minutes and 13 seconds to explain themselves to us: the entire discography of Kraftwerk will be inserted into our neurons at an exponentially greater bitrate.

The good news, though, is that bioterrorism or a perfectly human nuclear holocaust will probably wipe us out before the machines get to tidying my desktop.

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