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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Robot hand always wins at rock-paper-scissors

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Japanese roboticists have built a super-fast robot that can recognise the movements of the human hand for a 100 per cent win rate at rock-paper-scissors.

Japanese robots can already challenge star football shooter Lionel Messi and learn your moves to beat you at air hockey. Now, a team at the University of Tokyo's Ishikawa Oku Laboratory has created a robotic hand that takes just a split second to read your movements to beat you at rock-paper-scissors every single time.

The set-up consists of a camera and the three-fingered robot hand. When the human player moves, the camera conveys the position of hand, wrist and fingers to the robot hand, which then delivers its response in just one millisecond — before the human hand is able to finish moving. This means that the image capture and analysis, data transfer and reaction are all performed at super-high speeds.

This is actually the second version of the robot created by the team. The first took around 20 milliseconds to respond — a noticeable delay. This was because, even though the robot knew what shape the human hand would be before it had finished moving, it was unable to respond quickly enough. The new version, though, finishes moving at the same time as the human.

"This technology is one example that shows a possibility of cooperation control within a few milliseconds," says the project website. "And this technology can be applied to motion support of human beings and cooperation work between human beings and robots, etc, without time delay."

If Japan's robots ever have an uprising, though, we're pretty sure we're all done for.


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