Solve A Rubik’s Cube With Augmented Reality

Puzzle no more

Augmented Cube

Augmented Cube

The machine digitally paints on the faces it has learned. They hover above the surface of the cube like a bad Snapchat filter.Screenshot by author, from YouTube

Physical puzzles don’t come with cheat codes. The Rubik’s cube has vexed amateurs since its invention in 1974. There’s a method to the puzzle, but to solve it, people need a grasp of the cube's mechanics and a good memory of its ever-changing faces. Or at least, they did, until Martin Španěl’s master cubes augmented reality thesis did all the work.

First, it scans the faces of the cube.

Then, it tells the user exactly which faces to change and which way to change them to solve it.

Španěl made "Mistr kostky", Czech for "master cubes," as his bachelor thesis project while at Charles University in Prague. Here's how he describes the method:

The program works in two phases: In the first phase it detects the permutation of the cube. The faces of the cube can be shown in arbitrary order. Errors are automatically corrected. Then, as soon as it is confident about the permutation of the cube, it computes how to solve it in 20 turns or less and shows the first turn directly on the cube. It recognizes whenever a turn is done and shows the next one right away. There is no other input from the user other than the data from the camera. Throughout the navigation the cube can be shown from any angle. It is a work in progress - It will be released here in the near future as soon as it functions properly on most cubes.

Neat! Watch it in action below: