Researchers teach computer program to create its own magic tricks

Algorithm magic

Can a computer perform a clever magic trick or help you become a professional magician? Well, yes! Scientists at Queen Mary University in London have designed a computer program that can create magic tricks all on its own.

From this, the intelligent system created new and superior variants that can be performed by magicians. Peter McOwan, a QMUL team member said that there’s no such thing as magic. It’s just hidden science with a good performance.  The researchers gave their software an outline of how to do specific magic tricks including a magic jigsaw puzzle and a mind-reading card trick. They also provided results of experiments into how humans understand magic tricks, and using that data the program’s AI was able to develop many versions of the tricks that use the existing principles to still fool an audience, even if they’re aware of the original trick.

Human magicians rarely reveal the secret of their tricks, but researchers explain that these types of tricks are mathematically based and its details were published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

In the magic jigsaw puzzle trick, the magician assembles a series of puzzle pieces to show a complete picture. Then the magician takes the pieces apart and rearranges the tiles, but this time, certain shapes on the board have disappeared. Basic geometric principles have made them to disappear. To create a trick like this, the artificial intelligence has to consider various factors such as the size of the puzzle, the number of pieces, the number of shapes available and all the possibilities the puzzle can be assembled.

The mind-reading card trick is a popular game with magicians. It involves arranging a deck of playing cards in a particular pattern around a smartphone with a spectator asked to pick out a card. The phone, running the Phoney app, can reveal the chosen card on its screen. A computer program can make these kinds of math-based tricks even better by using computational abilities.

The magic puzzle is now on sale at a London magic shop, while the card trick is available as an Android app called Phoney on the Google Play Store.

Via: Motherbaord