Robot Plays “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and Always Wins

The game “Rock, Paper, Scissors” sounds simple. Two players quickly choose one of the three potential options, and both players reveal it at the same time. Scissors beats paper, paper beats rock, and rock beats scissors. Children play this game on the recess field when trying to make a decision about something.

The game just got a whole lot tougher to win! Researchers at the Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Tokyo have created a robot hand that has been taught how to play “Rock, Paper, Scissors”. The robot can beat a human opponent 100% of the time. You can play the game, over and over, as many times as you like, but the robot will always win.

Why does the robot always win? The simple answer is that it wins because it has been taught how to cheat. The robot recognizes a human hand with the use of a high speed camera. It takes the computer 1 millisecond to recognize the position of the hand of its human opponent. The robot quickly detects which of the three potential choices the human player has made and then selects the option that will allow it to win the game. This happens faster than the human eye can track it.

The purpose of this robot is not only to have a high-tech way to play a children’s game. Instead, it is an example of how robots and humans can work together in a cooperative effort that involves motion detection. The robot can follow the movement of a human hand without their being a time delay before the robot moves.