The world speed record for solving the Rubik’s cube has fallen again – but humans may remain slower than robots.
Feliks Zemdegs solved a standard 3x3x3 cube in 4.22 seconds, beating his own record of 4.59 seconds. The rules that he followed meant he was given a randomized cube and allowed to examine (but not manipulate it). He then had to completely let go of the cube and press two buttons (one with each hand) on the table simultaneously before releasing them to start the clock ticking. After completing the cube he had to hit both buttons to stop it.
While there’s an element of luck in getting a favorable cube starting position, that’s not a valid criticism of Zemdegs: he also holds the record for the fastest time over five consecutive solves at 5.8 seconds.
22-year-old Zemdegs has previously said he’s no genius. Instead he says that after learning basic techniques, his ability requires a combination of pattern recognition, spatial awareness and finger dexterity, all combined with intense practice.
Man is still arguably lagging behind machine however. Back in March a robot solved a cube in just 0.38 seconds. It’s a slightly unfair comparison as the robot started the clock with it’s “hands” (actually six arms) already on the cube. However, it did complete the solve with 20 rotations compared with the 38 Zemdegs took for this week’s record.