Bad news for anyone who was already skeptical of trusting machines—Japanese researchers have built a robot hand that is designed to win every game of Rock-Paper-Scissors that it plays. Its name is Janken and it may as well wear a snapback hat and force people to shotgun Bud lights.

The bot uses a sophisticated system of cheating which, although it breaks the rules of the game, shows the future potential for human-machine interaction. The robot wins by watching. The strategy boils down to using a high-speed camera and faster-than-human electronic reflexes to identify the shape the opponent is going to make – the angle of the wrist and early movement of the fingers is enough information to give this way.

The robot is a good example of a concept that allows real-time response to human movement. There are a number of useful applications for this, including military and industrial exoskeletons that identify and respond to movements more quickly. The team building this technology is currently still facing a few challenges like cost and optimal environment for good performance.

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