Sudoku robot ensures you never leave a puzzle unsolved

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by Mike
Posted August 28th, 2009 at 10:09 am

sudoku-bot

If you thought you were hot stuff because you could do a Sudoku puzzle, a nifty little robot designed by Hans Andersson would like to challenge you to a man vs. machine dual. While Mr. Andersson’s little creation won’t break any world speed records, it is mighty cool none the less. I mean it’s a small little robot on wheels solving Sudoku puzzles! The magical feat involves the use of what you would expect, a light sensor, some various servos and other mechanical gizmos, and a processor to crunch out all of the number solving skills. The more geeky explanation of how the little guy does it will require a few more words and a nice little trip inside…

  • Scanning:
      A quick first scan goes through and determines which cells are empty/filled. Then it goes line by line for each cell to get an accurate scan for it to use.
  • Thresholding:
      Next, the robot transforms the blurry (and to the robot, unrecognizable) image into binary. Each piece of information scanned gets a threshold value. Anything below a certain, predetermined threshold gets a value of black while everything above gets a while value. A special algorithm is used to calculate said values.
  • Segmentation:
      Even though the robot goes one line at a time, extra information from other cells occasionally gets mixed in. The robot corrects this problem by finding the center of the image segment and removing the outside material.
  • Thinning:
      To make the image more easily distinguishable by the robot, the lines of the numbers are thinned down to 1-pixel sized lines with a separate thinning algorithm.
  • Feature Extraction:
      Finally, in order to reach the final version of the number the robot employees three deciding factors:

    • Width of digit
    • Number of tips
    • Position and direction of tips
    • Mr. Andersson gives an example with the images below following the same order described above.

      bot-path

Now, as mentioned before, while solving something such as a Sudoku puzzle is mathematically fairly easy, the robot doesn’t have the fastest processor nor does it allow for recursive functions. Because of this, Mr. Andersson added that he had to spend some extra time with his little creating to get it fine tuned and molded into a Sudoku solving champ.

If you’ve got a weekend that’s currently empty, why not start up your own puzzle solving robot project? While I’m sure this project to Mr. Andersson more than just a weekend, geeky little projects like this are very cool and rewarding once the end goal is reached.

Hans Andersson’s Sudoku Robot Page

Source: The Awesomer

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