Here’s something you don’t see every day. It’s pretty awesome so we thought we should share this with you. What you see in the clip above is a kit consisting of an ARM-powered robot called CubeStormer II which is hooked to a Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone which runs a custom Android app. The software acts as the robot’s brain and uses the phone’s back camera to capture live video of the Rubic’s cube. It analyzes footage and features color recognition to determine the exact location of each colored square. The results are passed to the ingenious Cube Explorer app that solves the puzzle and issues the commands to the robotic arms

It’s really breathtaking seeing the robot solve the Rubik’s Cube puzzle rapidly and faster than any human. In fact, it even beats the human world record set by Feliks Zemdegs who had a best time of 5.66 seconds at the Melbourne Winter Open 2011 solving a 3×3×3 Rubik’s Cube. The speedcuber, as it’s nicknamed, is the brain child of one Mike Dobson who designed, built and programmed the thing.

If you want to see it in action, don’t miss the ARM TechCon 2011 which runs October 26 and 27 in Santa Clara, California. Another video after the break depicts the original CubeStormer robot which was much bulkier and slower than the new version. Also, more information and interesting details about the robot’s construction and design.

Check out the original CubeStormer robot from last year, also credited to Mike Dobson. Even though it’s bulkier and slower, it’s still pretty fascinating to look at. About the CubeStormer II, from YouTube description:

The mechanics are constructed entirely from LEGO, including four MINDSTORMS NXT kits, with the addition of a Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone running a custom Android app as the robot’s brain. Both the MINDSTORMS NXT kits and the Samsung Galaxy SII use a variety of ARM –based processors. 

The app uses the phone’s camera to capture images of each face of the Rubik’s Cube which it processes to determine the scrambled colours. 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 optimised 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. 

Human speedcubers’ solve times only include the physical manipulation of the cube and don’t include some time which is allowed to “inspect” the cube beforehand. Times recorded by CubeStormer II are for the total solve including: image capture, software solution calculation and physical solve.

And here’s another Android-powered speedcuber, this one from David Gilday.

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