Tag Archives: Fawn Qiu

Is Leap Sheep the new Flappy Bird?

There have been quite a number of hardware crossovers in the gaming world as of late, with the physical incarnation of Fawn Qiu’s Flappy Bird taking the Maker world by storm.

As CNET’s Amanda Kooser reports, the Arduino-powered Flappy Bird in a box uses a scrolling background with two controls to move the bird up and down to avoid obstacles. One wrong move and the box lid closes, playing a “game over” sound.

“I think creating a physical game makes the playing experience more approachable. It’s no longer just one player and the phone, but people around you are also aware of the game, which invites collaboration and curiosity,” Fawn told CNET. “Each win and loss is more dramatic, surprising and exciting.”

Recently, a Maker by the name of Tom Randle created a small robot to play Leap Sheep for him on the iPad. While not a full hardware crossover, the Leap Sheep ‘bot has nevertheless garnered considerable attention, with a write up of the project authored by Kevin C. Tofel prominently featured on Gigagom.

According to Tofel, Randle uses an Atmel-based Arduino Uno board (ATmega328) to power the brains of his game-playing robot, which has solenoids and capacitive styli in place of finders.

“A light sensor checks screen brightness and since the sheep are white, they’re relatively easy for the robot to spot,” writes Tofel. “The robot runs on JavaScript, with earlier versions [coded] in Python.”

Randle says his creation isn’t perfect yet, as the original aim was to build a robot that was better at playing the game than a human.

“At the moment, it’s not quite there. The longest I’ve had it running continuously so far is about 5 minutes: 110 sheep,” he explains. “Occasionally it just misses a very fast or slow sheep, and because the solenoids are fixed there’s no way for it to recover. I’m sure with a bit more tweaking I can get it to do much better, but I may have to add a second row of LDRs to more accurately measure the speed of each sheep.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the Leap Sheep cheating machine on the project’s official page here.