The AI-Powered Connect 4 is a functional prototype that allows guests to play the classic game Connect 4 in real life with an artificially intelligent digital opponent. The purpose of the display is twofold: guests get to experience playing against an AI in real life, while our customer can spend a few minutes with them discussing the value proposition that they offer. The game was overwhelmingly successful at the trade show. Our customer had a line of people that extended around all the other booths at the trade show, of people who wanted to challenge the AI. The result of the display was hundreds of leads and wide recognition of the company as leaders in the implementation of AI.
Artificial intelligence is part of our reality today and will be a bigger part of our future moving forward. Most AI implementations exist as text, code, emails, or spoken prompts and work in the background of larger businesses that have a budget to develop such technology. They are essentially using AI as digital robots that take over office workers' duties. Most of the time, the idea is to replace a role with AI such that no one notices the job is being done by AI. This AI was meant to be put on display so that users can see what it does and watch what it is "thinking" via a laptop that shows its code working in real-time to solve the Connect 4 problem. The game is just a medium to show the customer's prospective clients what is possible and, hopefully, stimulate creativity that will lead to new implementations of AI, including hardware. Innovation, in this case, is a combination of some sensors, small motors, with the emerging technology of AI to create a show-stopping experience. At Yates Innovations, we strive to help our customers win. In this case, we made the frame of the unit, machined, fabricated, and 3D printed all the hardware, and assembled the unit. We partnered with Kennedy Engineering to create the electronic circuit boards and programming that integrated the AI with our hardware.
We tested the prototype at the Midwest RepRap Festival to ensure that it would function correctly and improve the user experience before its intended use at the Convention.