A Rubik’s Cube has been sitting on Joe Ridgeway’s shelf since he was a child, but it wasn’t until he was studying at Rowan University that he fully embraced its challenge…

In a project that started in a Rowan course, Ridgeway and Zachary Grady, both senior electrical and computer engineering (ECE) majors, have built a robot that solves the cube in 15 seconds.

The Rubik’s Cube-Solving Robot, a year in the making, has earned the duo more than 17,000 hits on YouTube and a congratulatory note from Erno Rubik himself. And though it’s not yet official, they are confident, based on their research, that the robot is the fastest of its kind…

The robot wastes little time – after 17 moves, it twirls the descrambled cube in a modest celebration.

Ridgeway, 21, and Grady, 22, made the machine from scratch, they said, working under the guidance of Mease and ECE chair Shreekanth Mandayam and with mechanical-engineering help from graduate student Karl Dyer.

RTFA. Interesting in more ways than you might expect.




  1. Rob Leather says:

    Ahhh. But kid beats robot by nearly 9 seconds!

    Future prospects of finding a girlfriend. 0.

  2. Dallas says:

    #1 Impressive. Great skill if we move iPAD manufacturing to the US.

    Why is this not on FoxNews on what America needs to do to for manufacturing leadership? Who needs education investment.

  3. bobbo, even pictures can't tell it all says:

    “RTFA. Interesting in more ways than you might expect” //// Rats. I missed everyone of them! some good links in the sidebar–is that what you meant?

  4. keaneo says:

    I think Eid expected readers to be more interested (interesting?) than they are capable of.

    Not counting the troll, of course.

    Robotic processes can be speeded up. Humans? Not so readily.

  5. bobbo, even pictures can't tell it all says:

    I thought “practice” made things easier and faster? No?

    I did read the article too fast. I guess, from a mathmetician describing 17,000 hits as being “absolutely surprising level on interest” to be puffing on a scale not often seen?

    But does anyone know if any cube can be solved in 17 moves or can it vary? I assume the pattern is locked in based on where the first 2-3 colors are?

    I did the same thing with tic,tac,toe in grade school. Beat my sisters and Mom all the time. Dad would beat me whenever I looked at him, so I never played him. He used to tell me to save my money and not let the government tax me like a slave. He was a great man.

  6. 1873 Colt says:

    Ok. This must be the fifteenth robot I have seen solve this stupid toy puzzle. Can we move on?

  7. Pwuk says:

    #1 – with those fingers?

  8. Likes2LOL says:

    BTW, how does the cube get scrambled in a consistent manner before any of these contests? Surely there are some starting configurations that take more time to solve than others?

  9. chuck says:

    #9 – it doesn’t really matter – it’s been mathematically proven that every possible configuration of the cube can be solved in 20 moves or less (see cube20.org)

    I’ve seen the same thing done with a Lego robot.

  10. McCullough says:

    I hate puzzles, they make my hair hurt.

  11. msbpodcast says:

    I never saw the point of the Rubic cube, or the Rubic snake.

    Just like I never saw the point to playing Tetris.

    Its something that is either NP-Complete (the Rubic cube and snake have solutions) or NP-incomplete (like Tetris which defeats you eventually.)

  12. Likes2LOL says:

    Thanks for the elucidation, chuck.

    From cube20.org: “God’s Number is 20” i.e., every position of Rubik’s Cube can be solved in twenty moves or less.

    If Dan Rather was more knowledgeable, he could have offered this when his assailant repeatedly asked, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”

  13. Dallas says:

    #3 I’m hugely popular for my insight, wit and unvarnished truth! Did you ever solve a Rubik’s cube or are you still working on Mr Potato Head?

  14. deowll says:

    Must agree with bobbo. The side links were much more interesting.

    The naked bicycle ride was eye catching but I’d have thought the law would have at least enforced the use of safety helmets. Having suffered long lasting road rash I can’t say I’m really a fan of doing something like that. Viewing on the other hand should be perfectly safe at least in the US of A.

    As a side issue this is the sort of crap that seriously offends the Mullahs because they think it offends Allah. Some seriously bad things would happen to anyone caught with the photos from this event in many Islamic countries.

  15. Animby - just phoning it in says:

    Really, Eideard? RTFA. Wouldn’t a simple RTA do? Profanity (even implied) is the sign of a lack of imagination.

  16. sargasso_c says:

    Is it bad to wish slow agonising death to a robot?

  17. bobbo, real analysis not personality blogging is the key says:

    Animby–wasn’t it last week you criticized me for inserting the asterisk in F*ck You? Consistent with avoiding spam filters, you criticism was my “shyness” in using the Anglo-Saxon. Then yesterday you criticize me again for calling PUKES out for their REPUBLICAN PERFIDY. Now you are after Eideard for posting in the vernacular of the medium we are all using–no different nor any more offensive than using Moran. What is it Animby–is your GrandMother visiting and looking over your shoulder? Is it her money, elderberry wine, or approval you seek?

    –Place link to your favorite Church Lady Monologue here–

    Becoming a bit of a judgmental old scowl there Animby. Pull back before you start teaching Sunday School.

    Who said unvolunteered character assessment was not rewarded?

  18. MikeN says:

    Big deal, I can build a robot that solves a cube in 1 second. It takes one or two moves, or perhaps I just give it a solved cube to begin with.

  19. MikeN says:

    #12, perhaps you should learn what NP complete and incomplete mean.

  20. artfreek101 says:

    Ah, yes… the ol’ alma mater….
    …Making leaps and bounds in the quest for better education.

    Back in my day, getting a date to fetch and open a beer was more impressive.

  21. Animby - just phoning it in says:

    Bobbo the admitted troll: Pardon me for trying to be civilized. RTA is also in the vernacular and it works just as well or better in the case I mentioned. We should save the emboldened acronym for morans like Alfie who comment without reading first. As for you? As I said, you denigrate your own posts and hide your intelligence by excessively taunting the shyer members and childishly calling names. You are as bad with the term “pukes” as Alfie is with “sheeple.”

    My grandmothers have both died, thank you very much. I have no one looking over my shoulder except a love of the English language and a desire not to see it defiled to no purpose.

    Now run away and have another bottle of wine. I swear most of your posts for the last couple of weeks sounded more like a decent cabernet than Bobbo.

  22. bobbo, real analysis not personality blogging is the key says:

    Animby==not missing a beat eh? I just watched a report on counterfeit drugs. I did think of you: how would Animby be posting if he went to a website that covered medical issues and he ran into a bunch of people who advocated, argued, worked for the importation and profiteering from counterfeit drugs? For how long would you post reasonably when day after day you see people dying from the effects of adulterated drugs?

    As stated–I see the destruction of America coming on strong from the postings of what I call PUKES. I’m NOT talking about people who disagree with me, I’m talking about people, quite a few who post here, who are advocating an adulterated political fraud on the public.

    YOU should be more upset about than you are.

    We all should be.

    Including the PUKES.

  23. Animby - just phoning it in says:

    Bobbo – Again, I say, the English language is a wonderful thing. It is rich in words and history. However – counterfeit does not equal adulterated. Thailand, India, Brazil are just a few the nations that allow the production of counterfeit drugs. How do you think the HIV patients in Cambodia would ever get treated if they couldn’t get cheap, counterfeit drugs? How about the old men in India who couldn’t reproduce without some help from Kamagra or Apcalis? They’re not “generics”, they are counterfeit. They look like the real thing, the name is similar and the drugs are pure by their national standards. You do have to get them from a reputable source. China and Russia have a nasty habit of selling drugs that look like the real thing but have no medicine in them at all. Cross the border into Burma (sorry, Myanmar) and you will be lost in a tsunami of teenage boys trying to get you to buy their Viagra. Fifty cents per 100 mg tablet. Such a deal! But adulterated? Can’t say I’ve run into any of those. My medical dictionary defines adulterated as “to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance…”

    So, you want universal health care. One wau we can afford it is to import the expensive drugs from Brazil or wherever. I believe the UK has started doing that. Some insurers are requiring you get the good stuff from their pharmacy providers who, of course, are ordering it from overseas. You can bet your pants that Glaxo-Smith-Kline outside Bangkok is not manufacturing “adulterated” drugs. But they are licensed by Thailand to make some “counterfeits.” Why, I’ve even heard some medical plans are shipping people to Calcutta (Sorry: Golgatta) or Bangkok for major surgeries. Even with the price of an airline ticket and hotel, it’s a lot cheaper. Come on over, Bobbo. I can get that prostate of yours reamed out for pennies on the dollar of what it would cost in the States. And, if you like, afterward, we can find you a little brown lady to try it out on.

  24. bobbo, real analysis not personality blogging is the key says:

    Ha, ha. Animby–I think you got lost somewhere in a tangent about counterfeit. When drugs are made in a cess pool in Mexico and packaged to look like “Bayer” that is counterfeit: you aren’t getting what you are promised on the package. Now, if that counterfeit in addition to not being made by the reputable company is also not more than sugar and chalk for 1 cent a piece instead of the $30 wonder drug you need to recover, then it is also adulterated. Apparently, the counterfeit drugs from Mexico are all adulterated, not the good counterfeit drugs you have experience with.

    Good thing we are discussing medications that I have little interest in given I am never sick and don’t need them, otherwise, I’d have to complain that you argue like a PUKE: using a special case that is an exception what the germane issue is to distract from the general rule that is killing people.

    I don’t care about killer drugs, and you don’t care about killer politics. Let’s just talk politely about it as we would any other subject: like gentlemen.

    I wish WATSON were up and running. I’d like to ask it to confirm how often I call a posting individual here a PUKE as opposed to characterizing “an idea” as representative of PUKE politics. Not that it makes that much difference I guess.

  25. bobbo, real analysis not personality blogging is the key says:

    Speaking of drugs, many of which can be exchanged for a Rubik’s Cube, on a related subject, it sure looks like it is high time for an unadulterated copy of Mekena to be offered:

    http://techdirt.com/articles/20110311/01545013458/retroactive-drug-monopoly-raises-rates-10-to-1500.shtml

    When is the stupid government going to figure out if you authorize a monopoly provider, you have to control the price? PUKE politics at work no doubt. “Think of the kiddies” but don’t regulate us just trust us to do the right thing.”

    Ha, ha. Stoopid Hoomans who trust PUKES to do the right thing. Note: they never do.

  26. Nobody says:

    On a similar note has it been proved that the comments on any Dvorak blog story will descend into a medical services/ republicans/ democrats /Obama /911 rant in less than 20 moves?

  27. Animby ... dropping a dime says:

    Bob Bo … I am a registered Dem; always have been. I admit as I get older my lessons are more to the right. If they could drop the religion from their politics they might sway me.

    Interesting article. I can’t imagine taking a standard drug and suddenly putting it on patent. You blaming such a move by a Democratic administration on the Republicans is equally mystifying. You don’t moonlight as Dallas, do you?

    #28 nobody : please document your “proven” assertion.

  28. Cristina in Tampa says:

    …sigh…being a child who actually LIVED the “rubik’s cube generation”…there were only a few months before (without the aide of the then, futuristic “Internet”) we were all aware of the 50 or so memorized movements that it took to solve the cube…seeing a robot do this isn’t so impressive.

  29. bobbo, real analysis not personality blogging is the key says:

    Animby–thank you very much. Your criticism that I made a Democratic move into a Republican one hit home. But it comes down to the fluidity of words and ideas, their meaning and context.

    Yes, I rail against PUKES but never without giving my reasons why and often with alternatives. something that rarely happens by any other poster on this blog==or any other blog. Pick your epithet thrower and ask them to explain/justify/suggest an alternative and wait for the white space to remain forever. You don’t have to ask me that, usually its all there to start with.

    So, initially I thought your criticism was wrong, for in reality, how often am “I”? But you have me. Then I saw my use of PUKE was consistent with why it rankles me so and it was right there with what I posted: perfidy. Anyone who says they are doing one thing while actually doing something else is a PUKE. Just so happens that right now, such activities have been demonstrated most egregiously by the Republican Party hence they gain my ire. I am not a Dem, nor a Pub, I loath them both BUT I recognize the Pubs are consistently worse. That doesn’t make the Dems a “good” political party, it just makes them better/not quite as bad, as the Pubs. The Pubs out PUKE the Dems. Its why so many long time/hard core fiscal conservatives and old school Republicans are disgusted by their own party.

    Its all definitional. Its like Rubrik’s Cube–a puzzle. Sadly the answer to the political puzzle is to “not play the game.” Smash the cube on the floor, sweep the pieces away, build another cube.

    I see Nuke Energy is even now being talked up for its safety and its cheapness and its necessity as part of our energy mix. Makes me want to PUKE!

  30. JimD says:

    #1 – the robot had only one hand, while the kid used two – not fair !!!


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