A Where's Wally-Finding Robot Is Here to Steal Your Toddler's Only Job

By Andrew Liszewski on at

Tired of that smug look of satisfaction on your kid’s face when they’re able to find Wally on a page faster than you can? A creative agency called RedPepper built a robot that levels the Where’s Wally playing field using a camera and machine learning AI to spot the striped traveller in as little as four-and-a-half seconds. Looks like you’re out of a job, little Billy.

Once the robot arm is in place, it snaps a high-res photo of a two-page Where’s Wally spread, and analyses it for recognisable cartoon human faces using the OpenCV computer vision programming tools. To actually spot Wally, the robot’s designers trained Google’s Cloud AutoML machine learning tool on a relatively small collection of 107 Wally head and body images.

Thousands of sample images are usually needed to properly train an image recognition AI, but because the robot is only dealing with simple cartoons of people, it can pick out Wally faster than most kids—and easily dominate adults. When Wally is spotted, the robot arm lowers a creepy silicone hand to point out the no longer hidden character. It might not be the most functional or practical robot ever built, but it’s another small step toward improving the capabilities of machine learning AIs and another example of how the days of humanity’s superiority are numbered. [YouTube via Verge]