I’ve been ranting on about this quietly to myself for so long not that to me (at least) it seems like common sense – smartphones are detachable heads.
So this thing uses the camera (eyes) of a nokia, and the brain to control a lego machine to do a 4-rowed Rubiks Cube. I bet Mr Rubik would never have predicted this when he invented the thing back in 74. It’s a nice example of a… fad? that’s never gone away. It seems to be progressively reinvented – and I guess that for several generations now, it’s been (always was) a talisman for “geek-cleverer-than-everyone-else-hood”… it’s morphed into a type of turing test.
It’s a bit like a Turing Test – except instead of a machine being clever enough to pass for a human, a human is clever enough to pass for a machine. The Geek-Turing-Inversion
Anyway, the latest incarnation is this:
Which being a child of the internet, has it’s entire construction history…
And as is always the way, when I see something that makes me go “holy crap”, and I look for them on youtube, loads of other people have got there first and there’s already a whole subculture of people making variants
I think it’s really interesting that the “making” always seems to be as much of the “thing” as the actual physical artefact… and how often the plans are released into the wild wild web for free (in this case in the shape of .stl files)
Here’s Drew showing us how to mould pieces:
Not sure what this is. Looks like a really complicated doorknob. Instead of having keys, you have to solve a rubik’s cube to get into your house. How’s that for geek egotism? “Oh I don’t have a combination lock, I have an IQ test – I’m the only one who can pass it”.
…aaaaaandddd…. back to Rubik’s cubes again, for no other reason that I think this looks really cool… and whoever made it understood that to put up a completed work of art (because that’s kindof what I think it is) as a fait-accompli, is not enough. That’s not what it’s about… you also put up how you did it.
It’s like the object doesn’t just exist in two or three dimensions – as much of the 4th as possible needs to be there as well, and to really be alive from a memetic POV, it needs to come with instructions for replication.
Ok, so someone invents a Rubik’s Cube (Rubik) and a couple of years later they’re all over the planet.
Then a couple of decades pass and the internet gets invented and people start putting their Rubik’s Cube solutions up on Youtube… and as this is an attention economy, things naturally mutate. Fast.
I’ve mentioned the subculture of cube-solving lego-robots. There’s also a bunch of people who do multiple cubes blindfolded. The ones that grabbed my attention are these though:
A 20×20 simulation:
The guy provides an explanation for how he did it on another movie. That inspired (somewhere down the track) this… 100×100
Which is accompanied by a noob-attacking monologue conducted via that state-of-the-art medium, MS-Paint.
After that I saw this:
Which is a 5 dimensional version… which really is off-the-scale cool.
These might all be fakes of course. They could quite easily be filmed backwards – but the mere ability to visualise a 5 dimensional cube is a feat in itself… and it’s the process I find most interesting – copy->mutate->copy->mutate.
The crab-router might even be a better platform for rep-rapping than the original rep-rapper. It could do scary things like wandering about finding its own fuel etc. I was thinking that it will be a while before it can make its own servos etc… but then I remembered the machine that someone made out of lego a year or two ago for solving Rubik’s Cubes…
…so I looked it up on youtube and now there’s a whole sub-culture of Rubik’s cube solving machines
Which kindof makes me think that maybe someting that can make servos might not be so impossible afterall – just because I can’t imagine it, doesn’t mean someone else can’t. Here for example is something I hadn’t considered:
Robots that are basically single-cell creatures forming mult-cell organisms on their own.
There’s a talk here by Kevin Kelly talking about the evolution of technology – and with specific interest here is when he talks about technological evolution never dieing – the resurgence of Stirling Engines is an example of what can happen here. The technology is about 120 years old, and now they’re appearing all over the place.
What we’re seeing here is a new type of evolution.
Normal natural selection involves replicators blindly mutating and the best combinations surving to replicate again. The combination of the internet and a release of cognitive surplus (and open-source licensing models) means that every single replication/mutation can conceivably take place with the entire knowledge of everything that’s been tried and worked so far.
It’s a type of evolution that doesn’t happen in the dark. It’s still competitive but there’s a kind of modular over-arching consciousness that’s governing and driving it.