By using the power of electron capture to capture a chess move and store it in a computer memory, researchers at the University of Michigan and the University at Buffalo have built a “electronic” chess board that can be configured to capture and analyze the actions of any player.
“We can use electron capture, a technique for capturing electrons from a surface, to capture the actions in a game, like if a player makes a move, we can use the capture of the electron captured to see if the game is still moving,” said U-M mechanical engineering professor Scott Smith, the lead author of the study, in a statement.
“The capture of electron captures is analogous to the capture and analysis of light by a camera, and the capture is not only of the game, but of the movement in the game.”
Smith and colleagues made their breakthrough using a system called a “capture system,” which uses a series of electrodes and magnets to capture an electron.
The capture system is typically used to capture small objects, such as small magnets, but Smith and his colleagues used a much larger, 4-foot-wide magnet to capture this game of chess.
“This captures the game at a much higher resolution than other capture systems because it captures a whole chessboard at once, which makes it possible to capture very large data sets,” Smith said.
“The capture system also has a low power consumption, so you don’t have to be concerned about capturing a large amount of energy.”
Researchers are working on using the capture system to capture chess moves, or to create chess boards, so that players can analyze and compare the game against real-world chess game statistics.
The researchers believe their work could eventually be used in other fields, including bioengineering.
“I think there is a lot of potential for this to be applied in medicine, or in any number of areas that involve capturing and analyzing complex behavior of animals,” Smith added.
“I don’t know if we’re there yet, but I think this work opens up a whole new world.”
The researchers say their capture system works well enough that the capture can capture a game that lasts more than a few seconds, so it’s a reasonable system for capturing the movement of a human player in a quick game of Chess.
“With a capture system that’s 4 feet wide and 1.25 inches thick, the capture area is small enough that it can be captured in a single capture system, but large enough to capture large data,” Smith explained.
“For a capture, you can capture the entire chessboard, which means the capture has a high resolution and low power usage, which is important in capture systems.”