It took a little more than two years for someone to set a new Rubik's Cube record after Colins Burns, then a teenager at Central West High School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, solved the 3x3x3 contraption in just 5.253 seconds. Now the record sits at 4.221 seconds, achieved by Feliks Zemdegs, a 22-year-old from Australia who was all smiles—and in disbelief—after smashing the previous record.
He beat the previous time by a full second (and change), which doesn't sound like much on the surface, but is a huge win when you're talking about spinning a complex cube into a perfect colorful arrangement in such quick fashion. He's no stranger to setting records, either. After purchasing his first Rubik's Cube at the age of 12, he watched 'speedcubing' videos on YouTube to hone his skills, and not longer after set a record of 6.77 seconds.
Zemdegs attempted to claim his second world title at the 2015 Rubik's Cube World Championship in Brazil, and while he managed to average 7.56 seconds, the previous record set by Colins had eluded him at the time. During one of his runs, he came frustratingly close at 5.695 seconds. He didn't let it get him down, however, telling The Huffington Post in an interview at the time that the record is achievable at any given time.
"The thing about the world championship is it doesn’t matter what times you get. It just matters that you’re faster than everyone else. So there, you’re more focused on the win than the record. But the thing with the 5.69 is … I probably [could have] beaten the record if I did something slightly differently within the solve," Zemdegs said.
He also said he knows of another competitor that went to a sports psychologist to calm his nerves, which shows how serious some people take this sort of thing.
In case you're wondering, there are 43 quintillion different combinations of a Rubik's Cube. There's also another record related to the 1980s contraption that no human is likely to beat—Infineon's AURIX microcontroller powered a set of mechanical arms that solved the puzzle in 0.637 seconds.