The dastardly Rubik’s cube has been frustrating the world for almost 40 years now, and just about every human alive is familiar with the goal. All you have to do is spin the sides of the cube until all of the blocks’ colors match on each side. Of course, simple isn’t the same as easy — there’s a reason that international Rubik’s cube competitions exist. This self-solving Rubik’s cube robot is able to complete that challenging task all on its own, and looks mesmerizing as it does.
In the past, you may have seen robots solve Rubik’s cubes, and some of them can do so very quickly. But, this project from an unnamed Japanese maker is different. There is no external robotic apparatus to manipulate the cube, instead it solves itself using a complex set of internal motors and mechanisms. On the outside it looks like a standard Rubik’s cube that you could purchase at any toy store, but once it’s turned on it will dutifully flop around on a table until it has solved itself.
Obviously there is a lot going on inside the self-solving Rubik’s cube, both with the mechanics and with the logic. But, unfortunately, details on the build are sparse. What we do know from looking at photos of the disassembled robot and the CAD models is that it uses six gear motors to spin the sides, and likely an Arduino-compatible microcontroller like the ATmega328P for control. The rest is a mystery, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. It’s a fascinating example of great mechanical design, electrical engineering, and programming.