No Fair: MIT Researchers Teach Robot To Play Jenga

February 1, 2019

Because why shouldn't game night end with me menacingly threatening a robotic arm with a kitchen stool just like I would a human winner, researchers at MIT have decided to teach a robot how to play, and continually improve at, Jenga. Some more info while I "accidentally" trip over it's power cord while it's mid-turn and demand it forfeit for exceeding the time limit:

The robot has a soft-pronged gripper, a force-sensing wrist cuff, and an external camera that allows it to "see" and "feel" the tower and the individual blocks. It can push gently against a block as the visual and tactile feedback is assessed from the camera and cuff. These forces are compared to other measurements. It can learn in real-time if the block can be removed without making the tower collapse.

Wow, between this and that $2,500 Louis Vuitton Jenga set, I don't even want to play the game anymore. That's right -- game night is officially cancelled indefinitely. "Why don't we just play Life instead?" Life? LIFE?! Are you kidding me? Life was only fun to play when I was a kid, playing as an adult only reminds me how ridiculously frustrating the real thing is.

Keep going for the video while I call my therapist and discuss how playing Life as a child gave me completely unrealistic expectations about the future.

Thanks to Rob, who agrees at least it plays by the one-hand-only rule, unlike the majority of my uncoordinated, cheating friends.

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