back to article Japanese boffins unveil INVINCIBLE robot rock, paper, scissors 'bot

Boffins from Tokyo University's Ishikawa Oku Laboratory have devised a robot that always wins at rock, paper, scissors. The 'bot wins thanks to its use of multiple sensors that detect the shape a human rock, paper, scissors player's hand is about to form. Once the 'bot guesses at the human player's intent, it counters with a …


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  1. Coen Dijkgraaf

    Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

    But can it do Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock?

  2. Thorne

    But can it beat?

    Mike Johnson from the Almighty Johnsons?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scissors cut camera wire; I win.

  4. JeevesMkII

    I wonder if you can fake it out

    What happens if you initially twitch out the first two knuckles of your hand as if you were going to throw scissors but then extend the whole hand to throw paper?

    If the damn bot is going to cheat, I think two should be able to play at that game.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge


      So what the robot is actually doing is waiting until it sees what shape it's opponent is forming, and then countering with a winning move. In a 'true' ie fair game of rock-paper-scissors, both players should only know what their opponent 'threw' after they have already themselves thrown.

      There's a very simple way to test this - get 2 of these robots to play against each other. They will end up never playing because each robot is waiting for the other one to make a first move.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Cheating

        Because after all, every computer knows "The only winning move is not to play the game."

      2. Xofer

        Re: Cheating

        Suddenly I'm reminded of the Doctor Who episode "Destiny of the Daleks", in which the Daleks and the robotic Movellans encounter a similar problem...

        DOCTOR: But suppose we were two computers controlling two great battle fleets, each one working perfectly logically to outmanoeuvre the other. Well, you're robots, you try it.

        SHARREL: We're perfectly...

        DOCTOR: Try it! Go on.

        (The two Movellans come up with scissors and scissors twice, then stone and stone.)

        DOCTOR: Ha! You see? You're caught in an impasse of logic. You've discovered the recipe for everlasting peace. Congratulations. I'm terribly pleased.

    2. auburnman

      Re: I wonder if you can fake it out

      Rock your right hand up and down as is custom during the 1-2-3, then drop it and throw your move with your left.

  5. dan1980

    We'll survive

    Surely in any kind of high-stakes scissors, paper, rock tournament, competing athletes would have to throw their shapes in isolation - perhaps with a barrier to neck height so they can still engage in the psychological aspects of the sport - with judges announcing the results, thus eliminating such cheating.

    Either that or robots will always end up getting first go on the swings.

    Still, it'll be fine. At least until they develop a robot that can play 'knuckles'.

  6. henchan
    Thumb Up

    Surprisingly, Japanese people use this game quite frequently - even adults. And they are all good at it.

    Coins are never tossed; putting at a disadvantage those of us whose sis-pap-brick practice lapsed during childhood. So thumbs up to the robots for humiliating my humiliators. I wonder whether they deal with a tie in the usual way: "aikoudeshou". Playing another robot they might get into an endless tie-breaker.

  7. poopypants

    For some reason

    this story reminded me of Fisto, one of the robots in Fallout New Vegas.

  8. Khaptain Silver badge


    Give one of these things a virtual sentient weight to all of it's actions and suddenly it becomes a frightening adversary.

  9. Nigel Brown


    People dying from a multitude of diseases look on in wonder.............

    1. Tromos

      Re: Meanwhile

      I trust you will never rely on a medical procedure involving servo-controlled manipulation or optical image analysis or any of the myriad techniques this technology may be helping to advance. It could well prove to be valueless in this instance, but there are a whole lot of areas more deserving of your scorn than scientific research.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile

        Before it will be used for medical purposes, it would be normal to presume that the military will get their hands on it first.

        The utopic world that you describe often takes second place to that of the worlds super powers "needs"...

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    It's a key part of the novel "You only live twice."


  11. Sir Runcible Spoon


    "I have detailed files on human anatomy.."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not so clever now, are we

    What happens if you grab the robot hand and fling it across the room for being a smart arse?

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: not so clever now, are we

      "What happens if you grab the robot hand and fling it across the room for being a smart arse?"

      "I suggest a new strategy, R2, let the wookie win"

  13. TwistUrCapBack


    Chuckle - I could watch that all day :)

  14. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    Slow news day / year? See 28/06/2012

    Are we going to get a re-telling of this same story every year now?

    Could have saved a bit of server space by just posting a link to the article published last year.

    Thought there would have been new information.

    Turns out there wasn't.

  15. earl grey

    I, for one

    Welcome our new rock, paper, scissors overlords.

  16. Osgard Leach

    Down my end we have Cider and therefore an annual Shin-Kicking Championship, something I hope these fellows are not aware of.

    That video made my blood run cold....

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