By Andrew Liszewski
The first LEGO creation I saw that was able to independently solve a Rubik’s Cube was JP Brown’s CubeSolver. It was truly an amazing feat of LEGO engineering that relied heavily on the original LEGO Mindstorms, but when compared to the Tilted Twister it almost looks over-engineered. Of course the Tilted Twister does have the benefit of using the newer LEGO Mindstorms NXT technology, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.
Designed by Hans Andersson, the only modification made to the Rubik’s Cube itself was a set of custom color stickers to allow the Mindstorm’s light sensor to properly recognize the different colors. Other than that the machine uses all stock Mindstorm parts and all of the calculations are handled by the NXT’s own processor, no PC required. But how well does it perform? The Tilted Twister can scan a Rubik’s Cube in just 1 minute and requires about 20-40 seconds in order to calculate a solution. After that it can solve a cube in 1-5 minutes with a maximum average of about 60 faceturns.
But to truly appreciate the Tilted Twister you have to see it in action and thankfully Hans has posted a YouTube video which I’ve included below. He was even kind enough to speed up the particularly tedious sections where the robot is manipulating the cube so you can see the process from start to finish.