It’s the second week of April – Spring is in the air, birds are chirping, and electronic metal arms are raising their clenched fists into the air. That’s right, this is National Robotics Week!
Yahtzee has long been intimately intertwined with cutting-edge technology. From Henry Ford’s custom-made “Yahtzee Stimulator” of the 1920′s to today’s electronic handhelds and computer versions, Yahtzeeists of all stripes love to incorporate technological wonders into the simple old-fashionedness of the game. But a new marvel has outdone them all. A fully-functional Yahtzee-playing robot is making its debut this weekend at the Robotics Challenge 2012 in Las Vegas.
The cleverly named “Yahtzee-Bot” is a humanoid robot from the waist up with super-dexterous hands that are equipped with double opposable thumbs. The extra thumbs allow the machine to generate extremely high levels of dice action, resulting in magnificently precise rolls. The robot has been undergoing intense testing for the past five months – rolling thousands of games a day. While none of these testing scores have been released to the public, researchers with the project can report that Yahtzee-Bot already has a favorite set of dice – a set of hot pink, nickel-core beauties. Using these particular dice, Yahtzee Bot’s total scores are, on average, nearly 2% higher than when playing with other dice. It may not sound like much, but it is a significant difference when stretched over the nearly 100,000 total games the bot has played.
If you’re in the desert, check out Yahtzee-Bot in action at this year’s Robotics Challenge! And spend some time using different dice than you normally do – the world’s first Yahtzee robotic player is already advancing the bounds of Yahtzee strategy!