Anyone who's ever stared hopelessly at a Rubik's Cube will be impressed by this: On Saturday in Pennsylvania, a teen set a new world record, solving a 3x3x3 cube in 5.25 seconds. Collin Burns was participating in the final round of a competition at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, and though his result isn't yet listed on the World Cube Association's website, a WCA rep told Mashable yesterday, "We can confirm that this is (or will be soon) the new official WCA world record for the 3x3x3 single solve category. To our best knowledge, it has been performed in an official competition, with all the rules being followed, even the scramble has been checked for its correctness." Burns, the current US National Champion, is the first American record-holder since 2006.
The previous world record was 5.55 seconds, set by a Dutch teen, Mats Valk, in 2013. As Business Insider noted last year, the record holder prior to Valk was an Australian teen, Feliks Zemdegs, who still holds the record for fastest average solve time, at 6.54 seconds—and Zemdegs also holds the No. 3 through 8 records behind Burns and Valk. In a Reddit AMA a couple years ago, Zemdegs explained how he does it—it's complicated and involves lots of math, including dozens of algorithms and memorized twist sequences. But, he also noted, it helps to oil up the cube so things move more quickly. Of course, we're talking about humans here—last year, a robot made out of Legos solved a 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube in just 3.253 seconds, the Verge reported. As for Burns' feat, a WCA rep tells the Bucks County Courier Times it will likely end up in the Guinness Book of World Records. (This guy solved a Rubik's Cube while skydiving.)