From the beginning of the semester, you may recall my post about the Spring Project that I was going to undertake. I’m now proud to say that after a long, unpredictable, and crazy semester, my final product is finally here.
Surprisingly, the Rubik’s cube was not very difficult to learn how to solve, but the real challenge came with solving it fast. After many different YouTube videos and websites, I was able to learn the general steps of solving the cube. While the algorithms were pretty straightforward, I also had to learn the notation of the algorithms (for example, I had no idea what L D L’ R’ R meant) and simple cubing techniques, such as the left and right trigger. After learning the preliminary steps, the real challenge came with memorizing these algorithms. This was hard because for each step, there was a different algorithm to know. Some algorithms were as short as 6 steps, while others were as long as 12 steps. To practice, I would attempt to solve the cube without looking at the algorithms, and only look if I was truly stumped. After a while, muscle memory came in to play and doing the algorithms became one continuous motion, as opposed to trying to remember the orders of seemingly random letters.
Another large challenge I faced was not messing up the steps of each algorithm. This was extremely annoying because even if I was on the very last step and messed up one step of the algorithm, I would have to go back 4-5 steps. This happened to me many times, especially when I was trying to break the 2-minute barrier. However, after practicing everyday, I was able to shave my time down and eventually solve the cube around 2 minutes consistently.
Here is a video of me solving it in around 1:30!
Though this project took a lot of time and effort, it was very fun and rewarding. Being a STEM major, I felt as though being able to solve a Rubik’s cube would be appropriate due to it’s heavy focus on algorithms. Practicing the Rubik’s cube was also a nice break from studying/completing assignments and often let me refocus.
Through this project, I was able to practice my time management skills and hold myself accountable in completing a self-directed project. Due to COVID-19 and aspects of my summer internship being cancelled, I figured that this summer would be the perfect time to conduct a self-directed programming project. This STEM assignment gave me a good idea of what that would be like, as well as what motivation and focus is needed to complete such a project.
Linked below is a log of my 10 hours that I spent doing this project. While only 11.5 hours are officially logged, I had many times where I informally practiced the Rubik’s cube over and over, such as 15 minutes one day, 30 minutes the next, etc.
Overall, I really enjoyed this assignment and it definitely got me excited for my bigger 2nd-year Capstone project. Since the Capstone is substantially larger than this project, I plan on spreading my work out over the course of the semester as opposed to doing it all towards the end, like I did on this project. Regardless, I’m excited for my future in the STEM EE Scholars program and I can’t wait to see what is in store for me next year!