Synesthesia, the Internet’s favorite mental disorder.:rolleyes:
The thing about Rubik’s cubes is that you can only mix them up so many ways. Sure, the colors can be in all sorts of places, but a good solver can describe a cube in just a few sentences. They fit into patterns.
When he memorizes the cubes, he’s not remembering the placement of each and every individual tile. He’s remembering things like “I need to set the edge, rotate two corners, and permute one edge.” Then he sets the cube down in an orientation that he can remember when he picks it up again.
Second, when he goes to start flipping the cubes, he’s not thinking in one-by-one sets. He’s thinking in sets of probably eight to ten rotations. His hands make eight moves, but his brain is thinking of accomplishing one thing.
On the outside, it looks like he’s memorizing a zillion little things and computing things on the spot. In his head, though, he’s just remembering three or four things for each cube and applying a small set of patterns to it.
How do I know this? Chess players do the same thing. He’s just chunking.
I understood the definition, but I don’t see how this would work. Being blindfolded, he couldn’t feel colors, as each vinyl square is made of the same material, and the difference in colors are impossible to detect.
This man set a WR, so I don’t believe it to be rigged (although I ultimately can’t rule it out).
So, if it isn’t rigged, and there is no way to tell texture between colors, and he is unable to see, how else can this be accomplished?
Don’t know if its the case here, but I’ve seen videos of people solving a cube blindfolded, or with their feet. In both cases, they started with a solved cube, randomly scrambled it up, then played the video backwards. More sophisticated ones will have a clock running backwards in the background, or people walking by (backwards of course, so when replayed they walk forward).
In this case however I’m sure its just an impressive feat of memory that took much work and practice.
This is possible, and I think the chess analogy is a good one.
However, you vastly simplify the cube. A cube is not something that can be, at least as far as I know, described in a few sentences by a solver.
With a chess board, you know the starting positions of each piece, and how each piece moves.
To be able to look at all of these cubes, each with a different starting point, and be able to memorize that starting position for each cube seems impossible to me. One cube? Sure. 35? I can’t believe it. That takes an ability to not only see in 3-D in your mind, but to be able to move around each cube in your mind, seeing it from all sides, as well as above and below.
He has another video in which he solves 95 out of 100 cubes. Same set-up, just more cubes and he takes more time to solve them.
Maybe chunking is the answer. I just cannot wrap my head around how someone can memorize such a large number of cubes, remember where they are on a table, and solve each one faster than most people can solve a cube with no blindfold.
I will look for an example of someone using chunking to solve a cube blindfolded. Maybe this will help me grasp this possibility better.
As I understand it, any starting combination for a standard Rubik’s cube is solvable in 20 moves or fewer.
I imagine he’s either solving them in his head when he first looks at them and memorising the sequences of moves for each one, or (if he has photographic/eidetic memory), memorising their individual starting configuration.
If I were to do something like that on camera, I’d practise it from a known position, i.e. all cubes arranged in some order known to me but perhaps appearing random to an onlooker. Then all I’d have to do is go through and make each cube match the starting position I’d prepared for, then I’d put the blind fold on and go through the set sequence of moves I’d practiced.
For folks who are good at this there is no need to do that. They can plot the moves to solve any cube position in their heads very quickly - the actual moves aren’t that complicated once you know the “language” of moves. There’s not much benefit from starting at a known position.
I didn’t watch the video, but aren’t there also only a finite number of places each square can end up on a Rubik’s cube? In other words, while it looks like there’s 35 different cubes there, maybe there’s actually only 7 variants (or whatever). So all he’s doing is memorizing the pattern from which to start at for 7 cubes, then counting and repeating each cycle 5 times.
20 moves is what is called “God’s number”. That is the minimum amount of moves needed to solve the cube from any starting location that isn’t a trivial twist or two. However, the guys that solve the cube in less than 10 seconds don’t look for God’s number. Most solve it in the 40-50 move range.
This guy does this many times on camera. This is only one of the videos. It’s the shortest. There is another where he solves 95 out of 100 cubes. I’ll post a link to this one later today for anyone interested.
I think a savant would be probable. I don’t see how you could possibly do this with practice and thought. I know I am biased, since I like twisty puzzles and have spent some time in figuring out the Rubik’s cube on my own (and yes, I solved it by myself, with no books or video help). My method is kind of clunky, and it is far from optimal, but. I can solve the cube in under a minute with my method.
Since I learned to solve it, I have looked at a number of other published methods, and I can shave considerable time from my solve if I use another method. However, I need my eyes. I have tried to kook at a cube and cover my eyes, and I can’t do it. To be able to know where each and every cubie is located after each turn of the cube is hard. But to do it on one or two cubes is one thing. To do it on 35 (or 100) just boggles my mind. Clearly there is a trick to it… A mental trick that I’m not privy to. But if you watch a speed solver attack a cube, they use their eyes, and they look at the cube continuously. You need to know what cubes are where before executing a move. To memorize all moves needed to solve one stand-alone cube is difficult. Try it sometime!
This may or may not be true. You are talking about being able to plot the moves in your mind. If that’s all this guy is doing, shouldn’t he be able to solve a cube in under 10-15 seconds? That’s world class. If he doesn’t need to look, he should be able to solve it as fast as anyone in the world. I’ve watched him solve his cubes, and he uses an advanced method. His use of center slice turns is an indication of an advanced solve.
I would suggest watching the video. You can skip much of it, as it is watching him just memorizing the cubes. And after he starts solving, you can skip to almost the end, where he is finishing up.