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This robot can find Waldo before you can, thanks to AI

Digit 2019-09-10 18:41:23

Most of you should be familiar with ‘Where’s Waldo?’ The picture puzzle that gives you a highly detailed picture with a lot happening, and tasks you with finding the titular, Waldo. The puzzle is usually aimed at kindergarten students and (as with everything these days) it looks like robots will be taking over this particular game as well. The guys over at RedPepper have created a robot that not only finds Waldo in a particular picture, but also points it out.


Creatively called 'There's Waldo,' the robot features a camera, a metal arm and a rubber hand. The arm is connected to a Raspberry Pi. Once activated, the arm extends outwards and takes a picture and extracts all the faces it sees in the image. These faces are then sent to Google Auto ML Vision service, which compares each image with the Waldo images it is trained against. Once it is 95% confident of a match. The arm is then instructed to reach out and point to it. RedPepper notes that the fastest that the robot has pointed out Waldo is 4.45 seconds, “which is better than most 5 year olds.” You can see a video of the robot in action below.

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The feat may not be as impressive as some of the other accomplishments that AI has managed to accomplish in recent times. Other games where AI seems to now have the upper hand are Go and Dota 2. Google’s Go-playing AI algorithm, AlphaGo, defeated celebrated Go world champion Lee Se-Dol a couple of years back. More recently, OpenMind’s team of five neural networks managed to soundly defeat some of the words top five Dota 2 players. Tha AI won two matches out of three and lost the last game only after it was handicapped into choosing incompatible heros for its team. 


Regardless, RedPepper’s little robot is still pretty adept at spoiling a good challenge of playing Where’s Waldo? Just think, if Skynet had given its Terminator robots the same ability. The Terminator movies would be about the length of your average Snapchat/Instagram Story.