Could You Beat a Raspberry Pi at Noughts and Crosses (Tic-Tac-Toe)?

Unveiled at the Maker Faire New York in Autumn 2017, the Tic-Tac-Toe Robot is a Raspberry Pi-based project that challenges (and beats) a human player. As you can see in the accompanying video, this isn’t about tapping a touchscreen; the Tic-Tac-Toe Robot is equipped with a pen!

Developed by student Toby Goebeler of Dover High School, Pennsylvania, with some help from Physics teacher Brian Bahm, this dedicated game bot was in development for some months before its unveiling. Here’s a look at an early version of the machine’s arm:

As Goebeler notes, “...you draw an X or an O, you press the button, and the camera will take a picture, and then it decides where to go from there. The arm will move out and draw a shape.”

Interestingly, the Raspberry Pi isn’t just responsible for the movement of the arm. It’s also running the visual software and deciding what the robot’s next move will be.

“I found a computer vision library online called SimpleCV. It looks for a shape in the squares on the board, and it knows that in the middle of an X there’s colour… inside of the O there’s no colour, it’s empty, and that’s how it differentiates between the two.” 

Isn’t it amazing? It’s unbeatable too – no one has beaten the Tic-Tac-Toe bot yet, although no doubt there have been quite a few draws.

Interested in building your own noughts and crosses droid? We can’t help you out with the arm, but you can head to simplecv.org for the vision application library. 


Christian Cawley

Christian Cawley spends a lot of time with Raspberry Pis and scours the web looking for interesting DIY electronics projects and news for ElectroMaker. He's currently trying to show his 7 year old son how to get to grips with Scratch, but so far to no avail.


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