Robot Hand Beats You at Rock, Paper, Scissors 100% Of The Time

Watch this high-speed robot hand cheat at rock, paper, scissors

1 min read
Robot Hand Beats You at Rock, Paper, Scissors 100% Of The Time

This robot hand will play a game of rock, paper, scissors with you. Sounds like fun, right? Not so much, because this particular robot wins every. Single. Time.

Here's a hint about what makes this robot (from the Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Toyko) so unbeatable: it's one of those high speed hands that works with a high speed vision system. And when we say 'high speed,' we mean fast enough that you can't really tell that the robot is cheating:

It only takes a single millisecond for the robot to recognize what shape your hand is in, and just a few more for it to make the shape that beats you, but it all happens so fast that it's more or less impossible to tell that the robot is waiting until you commit yourself before it makes its move, allowing it to win 100% of the time. You might be thinking that you could fool the system by changing your mind halfway through, but my guess is that the hand and vision system are faster than your reflexes could ever be, and that it would be trivial for the robot to adapt to any creative moves that happens on the human end.

Yep, score another one for the robots.

[ Ishikawa Oku Lab ]

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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