Cubes are so passé.

The Megaminx is a dodecahedron with 12 faces, each with 5 edges. Each face can be rotated in a similar way to the well-known Rubik’s Cube puzzle.

The robot itself is built out of LEGO using a Mindstorms NXT kit for driving the mechanics. An HTC Desire smartphone running a custom Android app is the brain of the solver. The app uses the phone’s camera to capture images of each face of the Megaminx which it then processes to determine the colors of the scrambled puzzle. After working out the solution, the app transmits the moves to the NXT controller via bluetooth to instruct it to solve the Magaminx.

The most challenging parts of the mechanical design were creating pentagonal shaped rings and modifying the tilting mechanism to cope with the obtuse angles between edges and faces using LEGO bricks that more naturally form shapes with right angles.

[Via Tinkernology]