There's been some activity over the past year or so where people have been trying to create automated machines to solve the Rubik's cube. At NIWeek 2007 which took place this past August, I had the chance to interview an applications engineer from National Instruments who described the system they put together to achieve this goal. As you can see from this video, the process is very involved. It requires imaging of the faces, processing the solution and executing the moves to produce the final completed cube. The hardware is expensive, the mechanics problematic and in the end, the demo fails to do the job. On the other hand, it's a cool way to spend some time with some motion control hardware.Most of the time, the best solution to something is the one that is the simplest. Take a look at this Rubik's cube automated solution that uses Mindstorms NXT. I am scared to see the budget difference between the two implementations. Daniele Benedettelli's website provides more insight into how this was done. As you can see, the main problem of how to grip and rotate the side has been solved by using a socket type construction that wraps around all the cubes. This way, the stress of rotation is evenly distributed.
Automated Rubik’s Cube Solver Powered by LabVIEW
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