Go Game Recorder

Team 18 – The Go-Getters members: Edy Tan, Rudiger Lippert, Daniel Coughlin

Go, a two-player board game popular in East Asia, is notorious for being deceptively simple to learn and infuriatingly difficult to master. Because of the open nature of its rules of play and spaciousness of the board, games quickly become extremely complex and can last for hours, if not days. It has been calculated that the total number of possible game variations in Go far exceeds the number of atoms in our universe. Needless to say, traditional, manual recording of games for posterity and analysis is a daunting and tedious task.

Aiming to overcome the inefficiency of human-generated game records, ECE Senior Project team, “The Go-Getters” (Dan Coughlin, Rudiger Lippert, and Edy Tan), developed a system that automatically records games of Go. The Go Game Recorder works by utilizing a networked digital camera to periodically capture images of the board and a computer server to process the images and record the game in a standard file format. A unique Web interface enables end-users to easily access games and perform analysis over the Internet in real-time.

One of the chief engineering challenges the team’s system addresses is environmental flexibility.

“The main difference between our project in relation to other Go recording systems is that our device can be placed at a wide range of distances and angles in relation to the board,” said Tan. “This presented a challenge in terms of how to find the pieces in order to detect a move. This was further complicated by the necessity to create a system that was intelligent enough to differentiate between legitimate moves and, for example, a hand that is obscuring the camera’s view of the board.”

Ultimately, the variety of intricate challenges inherent to achieving their goal forced the team to develop a number of creative solutions.

“There were no obvious ways to overcome a lot of our obstacles,” said Tan. “In order to succeed, we had to leverage the strengths of each team member and embrace unconventional ideas.”