Digital Crave

An unbeatable rock, paper, scissors opponent

Digital Crave

When two kids call "shotgun" at the same time, there is only one way to settle the dispute: rock, paper, scissors. The game (or perhaps two out of three) has settled many an argument. Now a group of brainiacs has created a robot that plays the game but never, ever loses.

What kind of diabolical fiend would do such a thing? Researchers at Ishikawa Oku Lab in the University of Tokyo, that's who.

Here's how it works. The robot includes a high-speed camera that watches its human opponent's fingers. Think HAL from "2001," only not as homicidal. The incredibly fast camera determines whether the person is about to use a fist (for a rock), palm (for paper), or two fingers (for scissors). The robot makes its choice accordingly, well before the human opponent lays down his or her choice. If the robot's camera sees you forming a fist, the robot's going to drop a smothering piece of paper -- and there ain't a darn thing you can do about it.

If you're not facing a robot in rock, paper, scissors, you might think the game is pure luck. Not so. Check out these tips from the World Rock Paper Scissors Society. Tip number one: "Rock is for rookies."

Note: This was written by Mike Krumboltz, a Digital Crave contributor.
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