VIDEO: Watch the incredible seven-year-old Mansfield boy who has mastered the Rubik’s Cube
For millions of children growing up in the 1970s and 80s, the Rubik’s Cube became the must-have toy, although most of us have never even managed to complete it once.
But seven-year-old Harry Gilbert has spent less than a month calculating the path to perfection...and can complete the 3D-combination puzzle in under 50 seconds.
The speed at which he can complete the mathematical mystery has stunned his father, Ian, who himself had spent weeks trying to figure out the endless combinations.
And having got his own completion time down to 1 minute 28 seconds, thanks to some handy tips on the internet, he showed young Harry who has now taken it to an incredible new level.
Ian, of Lichfield Avenue, explained: “I bought if for him as a birthday present in March, but it was one of those things that I bought him because I wanted it!
“He didn’t see it for the first few weeks because I had it, then I showed him how to do it and in the space of three weeks he had beaten my time!”
Through lightning-fast finger work, the young pupil from Forest Glade Primary School in Sutton got his time down to 1 minute 22 seconds, then 1 minute 9 seconds, before taking part in a ‘show and tell’ at school when he completed it in 58 seconds, despite the added pressure of being watched by 230 pupils and staff members.
He has now got his record down to 49.41 seconds, and is pushing to shave even more time off his personal best.
Ian has even bought special timing equipment for Harry to calculate his times down to a hundredth of a second.
“He is an intelligent lad anyway, he’s doing third-year maths and he’s in year two,” added Ian.
“I just couldn’t move my fingers fast enough, so I’ve given up any chance of competing with him now. I take more enjoyment out of watching him do it.
“He is just getting faster and faster, and he loves it.
“I thought he would be able to eventually get to the time I set, maybe after couple of months, but not in a matter of weeks.”
It is estimated than more than 350 million Rubik’s Cubes have been sold since it was invented by Hungarian professor of architecture, Ernő Rubik, in the mid-70s.
Made of 26 small variously-coloured cubes to form one larger cube, the purpose is to rotate the smaller cubes with the aim of achieving one solid colour for each side of the larger cube.
However, the mathematics behind completing the task is extremely complicated, with the user needing to memorise a series of algorithms.
Ian added: “Even when you know what to do, it’s not enough, you have to do it without thinking. Harry is doing seven moves a second.
“It’s like the ultimate magic trick, because with tricks, people don’t know if it’s easy or hard to do, but almost everyone has tried the Rubik’s Cube and they know how hard it is.
“People can’t believe it’s a small boy who can do this.”
However, young Harry has some way to go beat the world record - which stands at a jaw-dropping 5.25 seconds.
“At the moment he is a long way off that record,” added Ian, “he is just trying to shave seconds off each time he does it.”