Lately I’ve been thinking about specialized form factors for computing. When you make a computer as an anklet or smart phone or glasses it seems to have a profound impact on the kinds of things it might be useful for. It’s not just that the different form factors are an incremental improvement in use cases but that they enable new apps.
Which brought back a memory of a story about a computer operated with toe switches hidden in your shoes:
The Eudaemonic Pie is a book by Thomas Bass that explores how a ragtag group of physicists tried to beat the casino by using a complex computer program to predict the outcome of roulette spins. A roulette wheel is consists primarily of two sections. There is a moving wheel on the inside and a stationary wheel on the outside. When the ball is spun it bounces between these two wheels in a pattern that is close enough to random for the purposes of gambling and the human mind.
However, since the speed of the spin, the starting position of the ball and the previous outcomes of spins on the wheel are all known values, it is possible for a computer to predict the final resting place of the ball enough times to provide the con artist with a statistically significant edge over the house.
In English? The con artists could tell where the ball was going to land a lot of the time.
But how do you get a computer into the casino and how do you get the final result quick enough to make your wager in those brief seconds after the ball has been set rolling but before betting closes. The real life con artists/physicists in Eudaemonic Pie were able to do it by building a small computer in their shoe that responded to heel, toe and finger pressure to gain the needed data allowing them to quickly bet in the final moments of betting.