Robots Are Now So Advanced They Can Locate Wally Within Seconds

Someone's gone and ruined Where's Wally by making a robot that can point him out in seconds using AI.

I'm sure we all remember the joys of finding a Where's Wally book amongst the trash magazines in a dentist waiting room as a kid - the challenge of finding our bespectacled and hoop-shirted friend distracting us from the horrors of what was to come in the dentist's chair.

I don't know, maybe it was just me. Either way, everyone remembers Where's Wally and now some clever computer bloke has come along and ruined it for everyone. Those guys always ruin the best stuff.

In a video showing off the impressive new piece of tech, we are shown a whole bunch of nonsensical code before the robot's creator turns the page on a Where's Wally book, shows what the robot sees, and almost instantly the robot - complete with creepy rubber doll's hand - points out where Wally's hiding.

Credit: YouTube / redpepper
Credit: YouTube / redpepper

Naturally, the robot, developed by US company Redpepper, has been given the name 'There's Waldo' just to rub the salt in the wounds. It's also worth pointing out at this stage that 'Waldo' is Wally and he was Wally first - created by English illustrator Martin Handford.

Matt Reed, the mastermind behind the robot, told the Verge: "I got all of the Waldo training images from Google Image Search; 62 distinct Waldo heads and 45 Waldo heads plus body.

"I thought that wouldn't be enough data to build a strong model but it gives surprisingly good predictions on Waldos that weren't in the original training set."

He said he had been inspired by Amazon's Rekognition software, which has the ability to identify people's faces from images, and wanted to develop a similar tech that applied the same idea to cartoon faces.

Credit: YouTube / redpepper
Credit: YouTube / redpepper

Credit: YouTube / redpepper
Credit: YouTube / redpepper

The tech was developed using Google's Cloud AutoML, which came out in January to allow users to train their own AI tools without prior knowledge of coding.

On the video description on the Redpepper website, the company says: "While only a prototype, the fastest There's Waldo has pointed out a match has been 4.45 seconds which is better than most 5 year olds."

With tech coming out that can identify and categorise faces with increasingly startling accuracy - and following reports that your iPhone can recognise all your nudes - it seems like it won't be long before we've got silicone robot hands pointing in our faces 24/7.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube / redpepper

Nathan Standley

Nathan Standley is a freelance journalist and LADBible contributor. He graduated from Durham University with a degree in Anthropology before going on to do a Master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Sheffield. He also writes articles for The Versed and is the Cultural Editor of The Common Sense Network.

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