Every website under the sun is recommending Christmas gifts, but I could find no gadget cooler than one you can't buy. The Tilted Twister is three times cool just to start with because it's a robot made of Lego material that solves a Rubik's cube. Hans Andersson built it from a Lego Mindstorms NXT kit. I am completely humbled by the process of designing the brains that run this thing. First, it "looks" at all the cube sides and records the colors. Then it matter-of-factly goes about repositioning and twisting the cube until the colors match up -in about 60 moves. By contrast, I have never solved a Rubik's cube in my life, although I have attempted it a few times.
Just watch the cute little thing in action.
The Tilted Twister is self-contained and not connected to a PC. The beauty of it is in its seeming simplicity while it accomplishes such a complex task. You can try to make your own if you like. Andersson has posted building instructions and a downloadable program to get you going. I could sit and watch this thing all day! I might even be able to put one together. now that someone else has done the hard part.