OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- This week's Reaching 4 Excellence young achiever has a fascination with science, technology, engineering and math. He puts all those skill-sets together in an activity that he's getting a lot of attention for. Tyler Specht is a Rubik's Cube-solving genius.
"On the Rubik's Cube, I currently average about 12 seconds," Specht said.
The Aubry Bend Middle School student is the king of the cube.
"My best solve ever is 7.11 seconds," he said.
The 13-year-old self-taught wiz averages 13-seconds at competitions. He holds the state records for skewb and best time. His story dates back to 2014 when his brother got a Rubik's Cube in November for his birthday, and after seeing a video of one being solved, he made it his goal, to learn how to solve one too.
"I decided, 'hey, I want to be able to solve one of those,'" he said.
It only took one month. For christmas, he asked his parents for parts to build a robot. He got them, and soon after, built one that he could compete against for speed.
"I raced it and sometimes I lost, so I wanted to get faster and beat the robot every time," he said.
His passion for the Rubik's Cube led him to research algorithms to use in solving the puzzle. That research is continuing today.
"Orient the top edges of the cube. There are no algorithm sets for that so I am currently looking for algorithms for that," he explained.
He recently designed his first robotics competition at his middle school.
"This is the first time I've ever organized and it's a great experience," he said.
Specht practices daily to hone his skills -- saying he's always focused on solving puzzles.
Whenever I see a cube, any type of cube in public, I think of Rubik's Cubes," he said.
In the past 18 months he's taken part in seven competitions and created a Rubik's Cube club at his school.
A fun fact -- Specht can actually solve certain Rubik's Cubes blindfolded.