The classic game – so widely known that if you don’t know the rules, you don’t qualify as human – apparently dates back to the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) when it was called the much cooler sounding shoushiling, or ‘hand command’.
However, the engineers at the Ishikawa Oku Lab have created a machine that can detect within a millisecond what shape your hand is about to make, pre-empting it with the winning gesture.
Scientists at the university explained: “Recognition of a human hand can be performed at 1 millisecond with the robot’s high-speed vision.
“The wrist joint angle of the robot hand is based on the position of the human hand. The robot’s vision recognises either rock, paper or scissors based on the shape of the human hand.
“After that, the robot beats the human.” You may be thinking of the old time-honoured trick of change-it-to-scissors-at-the-last-second, but the robot is apparently so fast it can beat even the quickest of thinkers.
Aside from offering a slightly terrifying vision of the future where robots outstrip humans in all sorts of playground games, the engineers hope to show how the technology can be used for motion support.