Humans can manipulate Rubik’s cubes with relative ease, but robots have historically had a tougher go of it. (A classic 2 x 2 x 2 cube has 3,674,160 internal configurations.) That’s not to suggest there aren’t exceptions to the rule — an recently solved a cube in a record-breaking 0.38 seconds — but they typically involve purpose-built motors and controls.

Encouragingly, a group of researchers at Tencent and the Chinese University of Hong Kong say they’ve designed a Rubik’s cube manipulator that uses multi-fingered hands. In a paper on the preprint server (““), they claim their -powered system — which comprises a cube solver that identifies optimal move sequences and a cube operator that controls up to five fingers — achieves an average success

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