Rubik Robot Record (say it three times fast)

February 22, 2018
Written By: Walda Woods

Yikes! Less than a second and the Rubik’s cube is solved! Nine-tenths of a second to be precise. Wait... what?

Olathe, KS is home to two very innovative software developers, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose. Who knows how it all began but, one day they just started building a robot and not the kind that will vacuum your floors or solve equations or deter a burglar. This robot can solve a scrambled Rubik’s cube before you can even blink.


Michael Furnari of The Guinness Book of World Records was on-hand to verify and confirm the accomplishment. The previous world record of a robot solving the Rubik’s cube was 2.39 seconds and they crushed that one on the first try. More than 100 people stood staring as the timer showed 90.

“You gotta be kidding me,” said one. “Nobody goes under one second!”

And then the applause, camera clicks and high-fives took over. “So how does it feel to be a star?” one person asked Flatland.

Really, I’m not that cool,
-he said

The basis of their brainchild was the premise that more than 43 quintillion Rubik’s cube solutions exist and they needed to take advantage of that. They used what’s called a low-friction “speed cube” that provides flexibility if things aren’t flawlessly aligned, the same concept used in human tournaments.

An algorithm called “Kociemba” was used to assist the robot in deciding the perfect arrangement of moves to get the job done quickly. A 3-D printer was used by Flatland to construct a special frame for the robot. The duo also used “stepper motors” to firmly grip and rotate the cube. These stepper motors deliver short, controlled surges of energy, which ensure faster, more accurate moves.

“I’m just extremely relieved,” Flatland said, looking at the collection of webcams, special motors and 3-D-printed parts. “This has been building up for a long time. "

"There were some things we were worried about... Fortunately we got the record right out of the gate.”

As an added bonus, a co-worker of Flatland and Rose, promptly paid-up on a pre-event pledge. If anyone in the office set a world record, he would pay them $1,000. True to his word, he presented them with a check after the Guinness confirmation. They mutually agreed that the money should go to FIRST, a non-profit charity out of Manchester, NH, whose objective is inspiring students to follow careers in technology, math and science.

“It’s just the fact that some kids will see this and think it’s neat and then try to learn programming or engineering,” Flatland said. “I think that’s great.”

Walda Woods

Walda Woods spent many years in the corporate world as a mid-level executive in the telecommunications and deregulated energy arenas. She now spends her time as a freelance writer and editor. Originally from Boston, MA, she currently lives in Topeka, KS to be near her family. Her unique blend of personality, humor and values is sprinkled throughout her writings and keeps her audiences coming back for more.
Rewritten and based on the Kansas City Star article
Olathe Software Sevelopers Set Guinness World Record with Rubik’s Cube Robot

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