A 13-year-old Chinese boy, Que Jianyu, has set a new Guinness World Record by solving three Rubik’s cubes simultaneously in just 96.39 seconds. He used two hands to solve two cubes and his feet to solve the third one. Now, that’s multi-tasking!
The boy wonder
While Que started out solving the Rubik’s cube purely out of curiosity, it had a profound effect on him — changing his way of thinking and even allowing him to make more friends. “When I was younger, I could hardly understand what [having a] dream really meant. It is Rubik’s cubes that have made my dream more concrete, and I believe that I have the power to strive for better results in the future,” he said in a statement (Guinness World Records).
Que also broke an existing record of solving the cube hanging upside down. While the previous record holder had done it in about 17.44 seconds, Que finished the task 1.6 seconds earlier at 15.84 seconds. Later on, Que admitted that the inverted feat was tougher than he expected and he needs to work on his legs and core strength.
This is not the first time Que has been in the spotlight. In 2015, he participated in a German TV program in which he solved two Rubik’s cubes with his hands and feet, much to the astonishment of the viewers. Just last year, he was on a Chinese TV show where he solved three Rubik’s cubes while juggling them.
Que has been playing with Rubik’s cubes since he was 6 years old. Initially, he used to solve the cube using formulas. With practice, he became so familiar with the logic of the formulas that he began to explore his own solutions. As far as the future is concerned, Que hopes to speed up his solving skills so as to set new records.
Superfast AI solutions
Though Que’s Rubik solving skill is absolutely commendable, the speed with which Artificial Intelligence systems handle the same puzzle can’t be compared. Recently, a video was uploaded to YouTube showing an AI solving the puzzle in about 0.38 seconds.
Created by Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo, the robot uses high-precision motors to manipulate the cubes at super speeds. To the naked eye, it might seem as if the cubes were magically rearranged into perfect order in an instant. The AI system uses a pair of PlayStation Eye cameras for analysis and calculation.
“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,” Ben Kat said in a blog post.
Unfortunately, Ben and Jared’s AI won’t be considered the fastest Rubik’s Cube solving AI by Guinness World Records since it has not been verified by the organization. For the time being, that honor goes to the Sub1 robot developed by Infineon Technologies, which solved the cube in 0.637 seconds.
But can they solve it while juggling?