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Netbook-Run Dice Robot Can Rack Up 1.3 Million Rolls a Day

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the internet-worth-something-after-all dept.

Hardware Hacking 280

stevel writes "The owner of games site GamesByEmail.com created Dice-O-Matic, 'a machine that can belch a continuous river of dice down a spiraling ramp, then elevate, photograph, process and upload almost a million and a half rolls to the server a day. ... The Dice-O-Matic is 7 feet tall, 18 inches wide and 18 inches deep. It has an aluminum frame covered with Plexiglas panels. A 6x4 inch square Plexiglas tube runs vertically up the middle almost the entire height. Inside this tube a bucket elevator carries dice from a hopper at the bottom, past a camera, and tosses them onto a ramp at the top. The ramp spirals down between the tube and the outer walls. The camera and synchronizing disk are near the top, the computer, relay board, elevator motor and power supplies are at the bottom.' While not called out in the article, the pictures clearly show a Dell Mini 9 running the show (and performing the optical recognition of the dice values.) No, it's not running Linux."

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More Like Color Recognition (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096139)

While not called out in the article, the pictures clearly show a Dell Mini 9 running the show (and performing the optical recognition of the dice values.)

Yes but there's not a lot of "optical recognition" going on. From the article:

The dice are "Michigan Red Eyes", which have different colored pips for each value. The different colors make it pretty easy to count rolls. For example, if 6 yellow dots are found in the image, there were three 2s rolled, no need to worry about determining the proper grouping or orientation of pips.

If you control the background as being black or shades of grey (which is what it appears on that dirty dirty Windows XP screen) then your task is a lot easier and less error prone. Well done on the designer's part but surely reduces the computational work load.

Re:More Like Color Recognition (5, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096609)

In the "good old days," we called that a clever hack. Solving a problem is about simplifying the problem space in any and every way possible. I've made similar "OCR" hacks when everything was going to be in a known font and size.

Excellent... (5, Funny)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096145)

Finally a sensible way to play a 3000 pt Imperial Guard list!

Re:Excellent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096693)

I'll take 2

Need more stats (3, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096149)

What's its AC and THAC0? :)

Re:Need more stats (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096667)

This is the 21st century sir.

Your roll of Wis vs Fort is a failure. You suffer 50pts of Necrotic damage; save ends.

Re:Need more stats (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096775)

It's a gazebo Eric! A gazebo!

Re:Need more stats (3, Funny)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096965)

THAC0 is deprecated as of the latest release. Please upgrade your packages.

only useful if ... (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096165)

... you can program in what you want the dice to come up with - and get it into a Vegas casino

A good first step (4, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096175)

Now that we've built a dice-rolling gambling robot, we just need to create a leg-breaking loanshark bookie-bot and we'll be all set to fully automize Vegas!

Re:A good first step (1)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096337)

Yes, I saw that episode of Lost in Space. The robot self-destructed (or something like that) after losing at the cup game [kongregate.com] .

Re:A good first step (1)

rishistar (662278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096745)

Yes, I saw that episode of Lost in Space. The robot self-destructed (or something like that) after losing at the cup game [kongregate.com] .

Did that involve Judy and Maureen Robinson?!!!

Re:A good first step (1)

th0mas_g (1442333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096817)

Awwww... I see what you did there. Gross, dude.


:-P

Re:A good first step (2, Funny)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096769)

Are you sure it wasn't the two girls one cup game?

Re:A good first step (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096713)

Now that we've built a dice-rolling gambling robot...

You just need some hookerbots and a casino for blackjack.

Re:A good first step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096873)

And Pimpbot 5000 to keep all the robo-hos in check.

Re:A good first step (2, Funny)

clintp (5169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097069)

Ahhh, forget the casino!

Re:A good first step (4, Funny)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096821)

fully automize Vegas!

Someone already tried this. The machine took your debit card number, and generated a random number: if (N <= 45) { card->cash *= 2; } else { card->cash *= 0.5; }. The end result was the same, but for some reason it just didn't have the same appeal. My theory is it has something to do with the tangible dice.

Why? (2, Insightful)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096185)

Why would you need this? And how is this better than a RNG?

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Domint (1111399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096229)

Because any developer worth their weight in salt will tell you that RNGs are not truly random.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096321)

And yet, there is probably some bias in the way that the dice are thrown. This project is cool, but as a source of random numbers it is quite silly.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096449)

And yet, there is probably some bias in the way that the dice are thrown. This project is cool, but as a source of random numbers it is quite silly.

If this does not qualify as random, what does?

A dicerolling machine external to and slightly more complex than the universe itself?

I normally don't mind the arguments or objections that this or that is psuedo-random rather than truly random, especially when it comes to computer generated numbers designed to do X or Y.

But really these are physical dice. If this doesn't cut it for you, what will?

Re:Why? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096781)

Well, who (apart from Risk players) needs a source of truly random numbers? Who would be interested in measuring randomness?

At one time in history, top cryptographers used mechanical systems like this. But they were abandoned in favour of noise diodes and radioactive decay, because those were not affected by mechanical imperfections in the machine and the dice, which turned out to be quite measurable (Shannon entropy). Using a poor source of random numbers is a disaster in cryptography terms, so the dice machines were replaced with something smaller, cheaper and better.

You can find this in many books about cryptography, but it also turns up in the Neal Stephenson book "Cryptonomicon", where the scientists actually calculate where the dice imperfections are found inside the enemy's "random" number generator based on analysis of ciphertext.

What we see here is an example of people being stupid. The demand for a dice machine is based on a misunderstanding of randomness. If it stops the users of the service crying out for "more random" numbers, then that's good, but at the same time those users need beating with a clue stick.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096323)

Like if the dices were truly random...

Re:Why? (1, Insightful)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096555)

"Dices"? Really? "Dice" is the plural, "die" is the singular.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096327)

That's true RNGs are not truly random. But, then again, neither is anything else. Just sufficiently random to be indistinguishable from an actual random event.

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

aurb (674003) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096387)

...neither is anything else. (random), ...an actual random event..

It's a good thing I have my paradox absorbing crumple zones installed...

No random, no paradox (1, Funny)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096607)

Nothing is random, but you can still imagine the results of a random event. There is no paradox here.

Re:No random, no paradox (1)

aurb (674003) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096725)

But you can still imagine the paradox...

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

Domint (1111399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096461)

True. I'd like to see someone put this machine up against a currently accepted RNG routines and see which one produces more 'believably random' results.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096869)

not truly random. But, then again, neither is anything else.

I would like to direct you to the website "4chan", then click on "b"

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096963)

That's true RNGs are not truly random. But, then again, neither is anything else. Just sufficiently random to be indistinguishable from an actual random event.

You fail at Quantum Mechanics.

Hardware random number generators [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096361)

Because any developer worth their weight in salt will tell you that RNGs are not truly random.

No, they are not truly random. Nor is his dice machine, as the dice are possibly imperfect and subject to gravity or the way it reloads them into the hopper. Influences could be anywhere.

I would be interested in seeing him run this machine for 30 days and then compute the Shannon entropy [wikipedia.org] on the results and then compare this to popular RNGs out there.

Although I would expect the RNGs (however flawed) to perform better, it would be interesting nonetheless.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

AlecC (512609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096899)

The developer says that his users have complained that his software RNGs were not random enough. His aim in building this is to build a machine that is as random as if users were throwing their own dice. At the end, he promises (light-heartedly, I presume) to punish the dice if a user shows that they are not random.

Re:Why? (1, Insightful)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096975)

I would be interested in seeing him run this machine for 30 days and then compute the Shannon entropy [wikipedia.org] on the results and then compare this to popular RNGs out there.

After reading the article, I think he's less focused on mathematical accuracy and more focused on appeasing customers. He only went to these lengths due to complaints against his RNGs he used to use.

This way, those wannabe math majors can't so easily complain.

Oh, and regardless of Shannon entropy, it is a bit more obvious that this approach will more satisfy a feeling of randomness. Unless the die are weighted, their effect will be random. Or as random as one will possibly get, or as random enough for those mathematicians who work for Casinos across the world who use real die for a variety of Casino games and are willing to shell out hundreds of millions in winnings should the roller win.

It's already agreed that if we knew the entire state of the universe, that we could see past present and future (just as we can determine numbers either side of a target number within a known sequence or set). But, it's also agreed that it's impossible to know the entire state of the universe. While the universe is big, it's probably agreeable that you don't know the entire state of this machine, nor is it possible. So as each dice has vastly different atomic landscapes on it's edges, and as the surfaces vary greatly with wind currents randomly blowing through, variations in humidity, vibrations, electro magnetics and all sorts of subtle forces and their variations and effects on one another and the die... those dice rolls are as random as they can get.

Please note, the machine can be manipulated. But, this has nothing to do with the fact that throwing dice upon a surface is sufficiently random.

Re:Why? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096979)

No, they are not truly random. Nor is his dice machine, as the dice are possibly imperfect and subject to gravity or the way it reloads them into the hopper. Influences could be anywhere.

If the influence is consistent across all trials, then isn't the randomness maintained?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28097079)

If the dice have recessed dimples on their numbered faces, already there is a tiny bias due to the fact that the "1" face weighs slightly less than the "6" face. It would be interesting to see whether a slight bias shows up in the distribution of the 6 faces after running the thing for a month or so.

Re:Why? (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096403)

I like the lava lamp rng
http://www.lavarnd.org/ [lavarnd.org]

wrong lava lamp (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096529)

heh, I actually linked to the wrong lava lamp random number generator, but after clicking around the site, I decided that this one was better, though no actual lava lamps were harmed in the creation of this rng.
so again: http://www.lavarnd.org/ [lavarnd.org]

Re:Why? (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096459)

If you think software RNGs aren't random enough to play board games with, you'd better delete your Webmail accounts and close your online bank account, because Web security absolutely relies on them.

On the other hand, this machine is frickin' awesome. But I do worry about the fact that it makes die rolls in large batches, and stores them for hours before using them. A fine opportunity for cheating if you can get access to any of the dice-roller's controller software.

Re:Why? (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096655)

But I do worry about the fact that it makes die rolls in large batches, and stores them for hours before using them. A fine opportunity for cheating if you can get access to any of the dice-roller's controller software.

An interesting point, but if the site goes through THOUSANDS of rolls a day, then there really isn't any way to be able to exploit that. You could take a look at the order and such, but with 80,000+ rolls being used a day, there's no way of knowing which ones you'll get in advance.

Re:Why? (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096795)

80,000 rolls a day is one every 10 seconds. You can't be sure exactly which roll is going to be yours vs another gamer's, but you can use the average of say, the next 50 rolls to give yourself an edge the same way a card-counting Blackjack player would.

Re:Why? (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096501)

To improve the randomness of this robot, it would be useful to identify and remove all those dice that are insufficiently random. For a nominal fee, I am willing to recycle this byproduct . . .

My favorite homemade entropy is (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096557)

a digital camera with the lens cap on. Especially, if you can get the raw pixels, it contains a large component of true quantum randomness. Just run the bits into PRNGD [sourceforge.net] (which runs the bits through a secure hash and adjusts the input/output bit rates according to the estimated randomness of the sources) with a conservative estimate of the percentage of quantum randomness.

Re:Why? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096903)

Because any developer worth their weight in salt will tell you that RNGs are not truly random.

And neither are robots using RNGs to decide how to throw a die.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096295)

Trust.

People who know better will trust a good RNG just as well (as long as it's open source) - They're not perfectly random, but probably just as random as the dice roll. But if you're dropping $$ on the roll of a couple of dice (especially if you're remote), people will put more faith in a couple of pieces of bouncing plastic than they will a computer telling you that you just lost your $100 with no explanation.

Of course, that's purely speculation - Why RTFA when you can just glean through the comments.

Re:Why? (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096411)

Ummm, a PRNG in your computer, open source or not, is purely deterministic, and so the complete and polar opposite of "Random." A hardware RNG could have open source drivers or not, but it's a hardware device. They tend to be skewed and also to have some dependence between bits, when what you really want is for each bit to be uniformly and independently random. Either way, even with your own drivers, you have to trust the device. Cue the Dilbert comic: "Seven Seven Seven Seven Seven Seven..." "Are you sure it's random?" "That's the thing with randomness, you can never be certain." It's actually quite difficult to look at the output from a RNG and determine if there's any dependence between bits, and if there's any skew towards either 1 or 0.

Re:Why? (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096955)

There are well known methods for getting unskewed random numbers from skewed inputs - by discarding data appropriately. And, while it is not intuitive, there are methods for evaluating the randomness of a random stream to some level. And there are methods of generating non-deterministic randomness in computers with mechanical components such as disk drives. The timing of packets from a large LAN can also be used as an effective source of randomness.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

CheddarHead (811916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096313)

From TFA:

"To generate the dice rolls, I have used Math.random, Random.org and other sources, but have always received numerous complaints that the dice are not random enough. Some players have put more effort into statistical analysis of the rolls than they put into their doctoral dissertation."

So, basically it was to quiet complaints about the randomness of the computer generated dice rolls. I question whether it's really better, but the players think it's better and in this context I guess that's all that matters.

Re:Why? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096463)

I remember an article many years ago about how dice stack up to being fully random. They had some interesting pictures of the dice in 6 stacks something like 50 high. Each stack with the dice arranged with a different number up. The height of the stacks were different by several inches. There was also several rolls that were then statistically analyzed to find that imperfections in the dice made them favor certain rolls over others.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096945)

You're thinking of GameScience. His two youtube videos are posted at http://www.gamescience.com/

The man is clearly a fanatic about dice, and it's lovely to watch his clearly honed-over-time rant about inferior dice. Heck, I may get some casino dice to play Settlers with after watching them again.

Re:Why? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096325)

Why would you need this? And how is this better than a RNG?

FTFA: "Currently, GamesByEmail.com uses some 80,000+ dice rolls for play in games like Backgammon, Gambit (a RISK clone), W.W.II (an Axis & Allies clone) and others. To generate the dice rolls, I have used Math.random, Random.org and other sources, but have always received numerous complaints that the dice are not random enough. Some players have put more effort into statistical analysis of the rolls than they put into their doctoral dissertation...There is no doubt that I will still receive complaints about the rolls, but now I can honestly say I have done all that I can possibly do: the rolls you get are exactly as random as those you would get throwing by hand."

In other words, the software RNGs used may have been sufficiently random, but players don't believe that they were truly random. Who is right? Who knows. A lot of RNGs are not very good. But it is just as likely that the people complaining are seeing non-existant patterns in randomness (just like stock traders worldwide).

Throwing dice eliminates the question of whether the RNG algorithm used is truly random.

Re:Why? (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096851)

Because people can see dice falling, but they can't see a random-number generating algorithm at work. In cases like this, computers are inherently untrustworthy because they can be programmed to produce a desired result. It's all about credibility, not whether a computer algorithm is better or worse at randomization than this device.

Not running Linux? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096199)

No, it's not running Linux.

That's because a Linux user would do it properly. "Windows XP, I see your Dice-O-Matic machine and raise you a /dev/random powered by a noise diode."

Re:Not running Linux? (2, Funny)

ratbag (65209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096341)

A Linux user might also completely fail to read the article and discover that some of his users weren't happy with the results of various electronic and noise-based generators that he's used in the past.

Rob (a not-PC user, in a snarky mood for some reason)

Re:Not running Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096523)

I've read the article now, and all I can say is that those people are idiots. But hey, there's a market for homeopathic "remedies" and Monster Cables, so why not "random numbers that are specially random because they come from dice"?

I hear if you dip your dice in snake oil, you get better results.

Re:Not running Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096599)

Yeah, and you've never seen someone blowing on dice, or wearing a lucky tie or any shit like that either, have you?

There are a lot of idiots in the world.

Re:Not running Linux? (1)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096421)

You should be more concerned that the laptop is held up with a bunjee cord

DUDE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096205)

I just smoked like 3 packs of Smarties and I'm fucking WASTED.
\

Jumping to conclusions (4, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096209)

"No, it's not running Linux"

I hate it when people to conclusions. Obviously, it is running linux, just with an XP-themed window manager.

Re:Jumping to conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096265)

"The images captured by the USB camera are processed by software I wrote in .NET. "

Ummm, that makes it pretty likely to be running Windows...

Re:Jumping to conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096527)

Or Linux with mono.

Re:Jumping to conclusions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28097033)

Impossible! He said he was using a USB camera!

Re:Jumping to conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096535)

I hate it when people to conclusions too!!

Re:Jumping to conclusions (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097019)

He did sat the software was using #NET, not Mono. Which is pretty MS-ish.

One-time pads (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096217)

It's the only way to be sure that your numbers are actually random.

You could use something that uses clock drift to generate random numbers like VIA Padlock but unless you have taken your processor apart, inspected with an electron microscope and put back together you will never know if its the real deal. Government back-doors, etc.

I wonder how many minutes of kiddy porn one can fit into the ~2 megabits per day generated by this.

Re:One-time pads (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096495)

I miss the SGI lava lamp for just that reason.

Yahtzee! (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096225)

From the first picture, all the rolls are 4's, 5's, and 6's! Where's the Yahtzee game that runs off this?

What does that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096235)

last half dice roll look like?

Great (1)

ForAllTheFish (1191163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096257)

Now we can reliably generate a random number between 1 and 6 millions of times a day.

Okay 1..2..3..4..5..6 (1)

LinuxOverWindows (1549895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096279)

What are they trying to Observe here, Do they think there going to find a magical pattern in rolling dice that can predict future evens :-O Thats it.

I just don't see the application this Robot solves and how anyone or why anyone would fund this but then again maybe it will produce something we can use.

Re:Okay 1..2..3..4..5..6 (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096487)

RTFA. The machine was built for a good reason.

Re:Okay 1..2..3..4..5..6 (1)

LinuxOverWindows (1549895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096727)

I did and it never says why it's rolling the dice, It says how it's rolling the dice and what happens to the dice after there rolled but in the end rolling rice will only let you randomize a number usually between 1 .. 6.

Re:Okay 1..2..3..4..5..6 (1)

LinuxOverWindows (1549895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096807)

I know he's trying to get Random Dice rolls but there are easier and more practical methods to produce random numbers. If he really needs randomized numbers then grab an advanced Math lib or even better use a atomic or molecular random event. Either way this isn't very practice.

What a waste, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096285)

it can only roll D6s.

Re:What a waste, (5, Funny)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096595)


it can only roll D6s.

No problem. You can generate any die roll you like from D6's, just do a little math.

For a D8, just roll two D6's, add them together, and then take the result modulo 8 and add 1. Poof! A random number between 1 and 8!
.
.
.
.
(If you're furious with nerd rage right now: I'm kidding. If you're not furious: don't try this at home.)

Re:What a waste, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096969)

wow, even if your D6 rolls are random, now you *Poof* destroyed your randomness...

Re:What a waste, (4, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096715)

You know, I never thought there would be a story on /. that could earn the "1500000d6" tag, and then this came along.

I believe (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096347)

I believe you'll find that six photos is really all you require in this situation...

What has the netbook got to do with anything? (1)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096365)

In other new: Computer "used for computer type work" shock!

I mean this is a really neat little hardware project (reminded me a uni hardware project I did), but the bit about the Dell is just fluff. What's so amazing about using a netbook? it's just a small laptop.

If it was being run off a trinary mechanical computer powered by a hamster then *that* would be quite interesting.

Actually, I think I have a new project....

Accuracy (2, Interesting)

wangerx (1122027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096447)

Very cool device! It does lack in accuracy. Pitted dice are off balance and the 1 will land on the bottom more often than not. That is why Vegas does not use that type of die. There is error in the machine; look closely at the video where the dice get stuck at the top.

Re:Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096823)

Very cool device! It does lack in accuracy. Pitted dice are off balance and the 1 will land on the bottom more often than not. That is why Vegas does not use that type of die.

The only way to measure the randomness of this machine, regardless of the particular dice used, is to measure how accurately it achieves a uniform distribution of results. Run it for a little more than a week to get 12 million rolls, see how each number count deviates from the expected 2 million.

For one time pad generation, call all odd rolls ONE and all even rolls ZERO. Assuming a verified 50-50 Odd-Even split, this would work even if the machine proves to be off-balance, right?

From TFA (2, Informative)

neoflame (1375515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096451)

"To generate the dice rolls, I have used Math.random, Random.org and other sources, but have always received numerous complaints that the dice are not random enough." Math.random is an LCG and so therefore of dubious quality. Random.org, though, is a true RNG (not a PRNG). If random.org is not random enough, either they're doing something quite horribly wrong or (far more likely) players don't actually understand what random means.

how much $? (1)

ilblissli (1480165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096473)

its nice and all to know that it can roll 1.3 million rolls a day, but how is it useful? is it actually being put to use by any gambling sites? if not, why not? if so i think a more interesting stat is how much money does this little machine rake in each day?

Re:how much $? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096701)

RTFA

1.3 million rolls a day! ... (4, Funny)

tbi (1519213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096629)

...Imagine a beowulf cluster of those...

Re:1.3 million rolls a day! ... (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097047)

Damnit, you beat me to it.

I did read the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096705)

I know its a terrible faux pas but i did read the article. So I'll sum it up.
The owner runs a site were people play board games via email. He tried using computer randomizing programs but the customers complained. Some people put more effort into the statistical analysis of the dice roles than they put into there graduate thesis.
So he made a device to role a crap load of dice so customers couldn't complain. but they probably still will.

So yes he tried the usual, easy roots first and the machine does have a purpose.

Oh, man, I need one of these! (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096741)

If I can get my hands on one of these things I can automate the process of rolling all the ones out of my collection of D20's... While an ordinary elimination process might use an average of 400 dice to yield a single die with a 1:8000 chance of rolling another "one" on the next roll, this kind of automation could process thousands of dice in a reasonable amount of time - yielding either a higher volume of dice with a small chance of rolling another one, or producing dice with an even smaller probability of rolling a one...

I'm going to be rich (1)

Nighttime (231023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096767)

Finally, I can automate my production of D6s/D20s with all the 1's rolled out of them.

Correcting for loaded dice. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096777)

If you build something like this, there's another step needed to get reliably random numbers. Take two successive outputs. If A>B,, output a 1. If A Even radioactive random number generators have to use that step. That was discovered in the 1950s.

Re:Correcting for loaded dice. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096843)

(Sorry, HTML escape problem.)

If A < B, output a 0. If A==B, ignore and try again.

Practical randomness (1)

wayward_bruce (988607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096835)

If you want good randomness: buy a cheap microcontroller, one thermistor, one photoresistor, hook it all up to the charger of your old cell phone (or power from USB but then there's not much noise) and sample away. Or alternatively just grab that Brownian motion detector.

1.3 million rolls... (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096929)

...ought to be enough for anybody.

Saving throw? (1)

Zenmonkeycat (749580) | more than 5 years ago | (#28096961)

Now I can finally realize my dream of a real-time GURPS campaign, where you roll on every single action.
"Okay, I step forward."
"Success. You move one hex."
"I step forward again."
"Success. You move another hex."
"I take another step."
"Oh, critical failure! You actually trip and fall backwards one hex!"
"I'm going to kill the GM."
"Failure. You do no damage."
"No, that wasn't an action, I really am going to come across the table and kill you."

D20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28096973)

I'll make the obvious geek-troll comment: call me when it will automate Dungeons and Dragons for me! Until it can recognize a fistfull of d20's, d12's, d10's, d6's and d4's, I'm not giving him any of my cheetos!

how long do the dice last? (2, Insightful)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097039)

The article mentioned that the dice get beat up pretty bad at the bottom of the machine. I have three questions:

1. how long do the dice last before needing to be pulled out of the machine and replaced?

2. how are damaged dice identified to be removed?

3. does the software recognize when damaged dice are causing errors (for example, when the paint from a pip has been completely chipped off)?

Awesome (1)

zztong (36596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28097053)

Awesome.

Some dice vendor should get one made to show at game conventions.

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