First Video of Lego Robot Playing Tetris

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tetris bot lego robot

Robots don't just want our jobs, they want our video games too!

What’s the surest sign that robots aspire to be more like humans? They play video games. The Tetris-Bot operates completely without human interference to play games of old school Tetris on a computer. Creator Branislov Kisacanin patched together a webcam, a digital signaling processing board, and some NXT Lego as a fun educational project for his kids. Best. Dad. Ever. Don’t worry about your high score just yet though, Tetris-Bot is still stuck on level 1. Heh, we’ve all been there. Watch the Lego robot demo its burgeoning skills in the video below, with the Tetris-Bot itself appearing around 1:48.

Released just in time for National Robotics Week, Kiscanin’s setup is a sweet piece of engineering. The visual processing takes place in the TI DSP board (DM6437) which analyzes the screen and decides the next move in span of just 1 frame (~33ms). The board then communicates with the NXT robotic components via LED lights. According to comments on Kiscanin’s YouTube channel, the key-punching robot is capable of 3 strokes a second, but runs at about half that speed. Which means that Tetris-Bot has room for easy improvement. It may soon be seen defeating level one and making its way to the leaderboard.

The Lego Mindstorm series is being used to build some amazing devices. We’ve seen robots that can solve the Rubik’s cube and Sudoku at break neck speeds, as well as Lego ATMs and a Lego Flexpicker! I know of one researcher who’s even developing a humanoid face out of Lego that can interact with its environment. The Tetris-Bot is just one more example of how these “childhood toys” have moved out of the range of simple building blocks and become a versatile platform for amateur robotics. Hopefully they’ll stay focused on defeating the games of yesteryear and not their human masters.

[screen capture and video credit: Branislav Kiscanin]
[source: BranislavKiscanin Channel on YouTube]

Discussion — 21 Responses

  • Nick April 20, 2010 on 3:57 am

    At the very least they’re made out of legos, so when the great Legobot uprising of the early 21st century happens we can just kick them into pieces (just like we used to do with our lego cars and castles).

    • nosuchthingaslegos Nick April 20, 2010 on 4:35 pm

      They are not made of legos any more than the sahara desert is full of sands, you ignorant flid.

      • Steve nosuchthingaslegos April 20, 2010 on 6:01 pm

        But that example isn’t exactly a good one.
        A desert can be filled with sands, in the sense that there are many different types of sand.

      • Schlock nosuchthingaslegos April 21, 2010 on 3:21 am

        Since it’s constructed with Lego Mindstorm parts, in addition to the board and webcam, that’d pretty much make you wrong wouldn’t it? I don’t really care if they don’t fit your personal definiton of lego blocks, it’s still a kit produced by Lego. Ignorant flid indeed…

    • cardvdgps Nick October 12, 2010 on 1:47 pm

      Robots are slaves and simple electromechanical logic computing machines.

  • Nick April 19, 2010 on 11:57 pm

    At the very least they’re made out of legos, so when the great Legobot uprising of the early 21st century happens we can just kick them into pieces (just like we used to do with our lego cars and castles).

    • nosuchthingaslegos Nick April 20, 2010 on 12:35 pm

      They are not made of legos any more than the sahara desert is full of sands, you ignorant flid.

      • Steve nosuchthingaslegos April 20, 2010 on 2:01 pm

        But that example isn’t exactly a good one.
        A desert can be filled with sands, in the sense that there are many different types of sand.

      • Schlock nosuchthingaslegos April 20, 2010 on 11:21 pm

        Since it’s constructed with Lego Mindstorm parts, in addition to the board and webcam, that’d pretty much make you wrong wouldn’t it? I don’t really care if they don’t fit your personal definiton of lego blocks, it’s still a kit produced by Lego. Ignorant flid indeed…

  • Kent Brockman April 20, 2010 on 5:20 pm

    I, for one, welcome our new Tetris playing overlords…

  • Kent Brockman April 20, 2010 on 1:20 pm

    I, for one, welcome our new Tetris playing overlords…

  • John Gehrke April 20, 2010 on 6:46 pm

    Robots are slaves and simple electromechanical logic computing machines. They do not desire, they execute human instructions. I think I would only play Tetris to waste moments of my day.

  • John Gehrke April 20, 2010 on 2:46 pm

    Robots are slaves and simple electromechanical logic computing machines. They do not desire, they execute human instructions. I think I would only play Tetris to waste moments of my day.

  • garmin April 20, 2010 on 7:24 pm

    Lego and tetris my 2 favorite things in the world in the biggest geek way ever, congrastulatios!

  • garmin April 20, 2010 on 3:24 pm

    Lego and tetris my 2 favorite things in the world in the biggest geek way ever, congrastulatios!

  • Tetris Break April 20, 2010 on 11:46 pm

    At Tetris Break you can see the computer solving Tetris, but this one is cool as the input is visual.

  • Tetris Break April 20, 2010 on 7:46 pm

    At Tetris Break you can see the computer solving Tetris, but this one is cool as the input is visual.

  • andrew April 21, 2010 on 4:26 am

    Nicely done, congrats.

  • andrew April 21, 2010 on 12:26 am

    Nicely done, congrats.

  • Todd Steel April 22, 2010 on 11:26 am

    If robots can play chess, why not Tetris? And if whole towns can be built from Lego, why not a robot? And if people can be ignorant flids, why not robots (if they can find a definition for “flid”)?

  • Todd Steel April 22, 2010 on 7:26 am

    If robots can play chess, why not Tetris? And if whole towns can be built from Lego, why not a robot? And if people can be ignorant flids, why not robots (if they can find a definition for “flid”)?