A 14-year-old boy has solved a Rubik’s cube in under five seconds, beating the previous world record time by 0.35 seconds.
Lucas Etter was taking part in the River Hill Fall competition in Clarksville, Maryland, on Saturday when he managed to unmix the 3x3 cube in just 4.9 seconds.
Video of his feat shows an unruffled Lucas working out his strategy before completing the cube and leaping to his feet as the clock halted at 4.904 seconds.
The World Cube Association confirmed that Lucas had beaten the previous best, but told Time magazine it was in the process of verifying it as an official world record.
The previous fastest time was held by another teenager, Collin Burns, whose grip on the record lasted just seven months – an age in speedcube terms – after his 5.25-second victory in the Doylestown spring competition in April.
Astonishingly, that world record time had already been beaten in the River Hall Fall competition on the same day, Fivethirtyeight reported, when Keaton Ellis managed 5.09 seconds.
But Lucas’ subsequent improvement means that time will not feature in the record books.
Speedcubers get 15 seconds to inspect the cube before attempting to solve it. The Rubik’s speedcubing website suggests various techniques for getting your cube-twisting up to speed, including finger tricks, lubrication and tightening or loosening the internal springs.
The timing is controlled by a StackMat timer, activated when the cuber lifts his or her hands off the touchpad, then down again once the cube is completed.
The World Cube Association confirms Lucas was already a world-record holder in the 2x2 cube average competition (an average of five attempts), but it is the 3x3 Rubik’s cube that remains the ultimate prize.
The world Rubik’s cube championship has taken place every two years since 2003, and world records – first set at 22.95 seconds by 16-year-old Minh Thai in 1982 - have been nimbly demolished ever since.
This article was written by Claire Phipps, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 24th November 2015 04.23 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010