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.

  • Nicholas Conrad

    What kind of cheater rules do robots play with? You touch a block THAT'S YOUR BLOCK! None of this wiggling the tower then picking a different piece!

  • Ghost Pirates

    How about the video shows the part where the robot knocks it over?

    Or maybe the video of the scientists stopping the robot from knocking the tower down right before it happened, and then high-fiving each other because nothing got knocked down due to them stopping it?

  • Let the robots have jenga - it's a terrible game.

  • The_Wretched

    My friends play jenga with TENS units on their arms so they are jittery and have control issues. We call it shock Jenga.

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