There's the way we plod along trying to solve the Rubik's cube... and then there's speed cubing. Rubik's cube champion Feliks Zemdegs shared a video of solving the puzzle in a scorching 3.81 seconds -- quicker than his previous world record time of 4.73 seconds. SEE ALSO: Master solves and juggles Rubik's cubes at the same damn time The 21-year-old shares all his stats and personal bests on his Facebook and Twitter pages, should you wish to deep dive into the world of speed cubing. We share your fist-pumping joy at the end, Feliks. World's longest ever golf putt puts your feeble minigolf efforts to shame
If you look away from this Rubik's Cube-solving robot for even a second, you'll miss history. The Sub 1 Reloaded cracked the notorious puzzle in just 0.637 seconds earlier this year, smashing its own mark of 0.887 seconds and setting the Guinness World Record. The robot is the pride and joy of German engineer Albert Breer, who boosted its puzzle-solving power by adding a new Infineon chip. Feliks Zemdegs holds the fastest time for a human, coming in way behind the machine at a sluggish 4.73 seconds.
Colin G. Johnson, an associate professor at the University of Nottingham, recently developed a deep-learning technique that can learn a so-called "fitness function" from a set of sample solutions to a problem. This technique, presented in a paper published in Wiley's Expert Systems journal, was initially trained to solve the Rubik's cube, the popular 3-D combination puzzle invented by Hungarian sculptor Ernő Rubik. "The aim of our paper was to use machine learning to learn to solve the Rubik's cube," Colin G. Johnson, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told TechXplore. "Rubik's cube is a very complex puzzle, but any of the vast number of combinations is at most 20 steps from a solution. So the approach we take here is to try and solve the problem by learning to do each of those steps individually."
In a case proposed by the research team, a device like a flat smartphone could be folded and reconfigured into the shape of a game controller. Or, in a less practical example, you could simply roll your phone out into a rectangular log with a postage-stamp sized display on one end. For users who were never very good at spatial reasoning or origami, an algorithm will help determine the best way to twist and fold the screen into the desired shape. While the device is still in the awkward prototype phase at this point, the research team will present it to a panel at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Stockholm later this week.