Computing KS3/4: Solving a Rubik's cube by smartphone

Professor Danielle George demonstrates the world’s fastest Rubik’s cube solver and explains how it works using just a smartphone and bricks.

The smartphone takes photographs of the cube using its built-in camera and the software works out the fastest way to solve the cube.

The smartphone then sends instructions to the mechanical arms to tell them which parts of the cube to rotate.

The Rubik’s cube solver is a prime example of how electronics in our everyday lives are capable of doing unexpected things.

This clip is from The Royal Institute Christmas Lectures 2014.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3 and 4:

Could be used to start a discussion on everyday electronics:

Is this just a novelty or will it be able to be of any practical use in the future?

Will robots eventually replace all the jobs that humans do so that humans never need to do manual labour?

What kinds of work will robots never be able to do?

Curriculum Notes

These clips will be relevant for teaching Computing, ICT and Computer Science at KS3 and GCSE/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level and National 4/5 in Scotland.

The topics discussed will support OCR, Edexcel, AQA,WJEC GCSE in GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from The Royal Institute Christmas Lectures 2014:

Feedback loops
video
How does a digital camera work?
video
How LED screens work
video
How robots can work together in a swarm
video
The Mars Rover and autonomous navigation
video
What can 3D printing be used for?
video
Touching virtual objects
video