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  • In the mid-1970's, Erno Rubik invented the Rubik's cube.

  • But that doesn't mean knew how to solve it.

  • It took him a few months to figure it out.

  • By the time the first World Rubik's Cube Championships were held in 1982, the winner - he could solve the cube in a little less than 23 seconds.

  • And these days? (news montage of Collin's record)

  • This is world record holder Collin Burns, and today, we find out how he did it.

  • It could last another week; it could last another few years.

  • The previous record lasted for just over 2 years.

  • But with...especially with single solve, you just need to get lucky.

  • Or at least that's a big part of it.

  • Collin tends to downplay his skills but it's worth noting there are two types of world records.

  • The way speedcubing competitions work is that volunteers scramble the cubes according to instructions that are generated by a computer, so competitors all get the same scramble.

  • They do 5 solves and their three middle scores are averaged.

  • So Collin holds the world record for a single solve.

  • But the world record for an average score is held by a 19-year-old in Australia.

  • Still, Collin's record is a huge deal.

  • At the competition where we met up with him, kids were asking him for his autograph.

  • Are you that famous cube guy?

  • He's now being sponsored by a cube company and by a cube retailer, which are paying for him to travel internationally.

  • And he wants people to know, you could do this too.

  • The biggest misconception about cubing is that it's difficult, which it really isn't.

  • Pop culture treats the Rubik's cube like some sort of IQ test, but it's not.

  • At least not anymore.

  • I recently bought a cube online and it came with instructions for beginners.

  • And if you memorize those, you can solve the cube in a couple minutes.

  • It helps to understand the design of the puzzle.

  • At first glance, it looks's a cube made out of cubesright, three layers of nine.

  • But if you look closer, you'll see there aren't actually any cubes here.

  • So that tells you that the corners will always be corners, the edges will always be edges, and the middle pieces determine the color of that face.

  • Speedcubers will buy special cubes.

  • They can lubricate them and adjust the tension.

  • But the real key to their speed is efficiency.

  • They're looking several moves ahead, and they use fewer moves to get the same result.

  • So there are 43 quintillion possible arrangements for the cube.

  • A few years back, some researchers borrowed computing power from Google to find out that any scramble can be solved in 20 moves or less.

  • They call it God's Number.

  • But humans just aren't that good.

  • The beginners' method that I learned uses 100 to 200 moves.

  • Speedcubers use more around 50 to 60 moves.

  • And they can do that, in part, because of the knowledge gained by the previous generation of speedcubers.

  • When the cube first spread around the world back in the 80s, people had to learn through trial and error.

  • This was happening in a lot of math departments and campus clubs.

  • People were discovering the cube at the same time, and they were sharing what they learned.

  • The method that Collin uses was developed by Jessica Fridrich.

  • She's an engineering professor who was a college student at the time.

  • It starts with a cross on one of the faces.

  • And that face becomes the bottom layer.

  • Then what they do is solve the corners of the bottom layer and the middle layer simultaneously.

  • So, you can see now that all of this is solved.

  • And for the final layer, they're choosing from dozens of algorithms that they've memorized.

  • And those are sequences of moves that will mess up the cube temporarily to move certain pieces into place.

  • And then put the rest of the cube back where it was.

  • The Rubik's cube has made a comeback in recent years along with that same ethic of sharing tips and strategies.

  • So all of resources you need are there.

  • There's just one other thing.

  • Practice!

  • This is Collin nearly 5 years ago.

  • World records are not built in a day.

In the mid-1970's, Erno Rubik invented the Rubik's cube.

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How a 15-year-old solved a Rubik's Cube in 5.25 seconds

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    Leonard posted on 2019/05/14
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