Skip to content

Wearable roulette computer

Contact us about this object

Description

Receiver, transisters, wires. Small custom-built computer with 12 transisters inside a small plastic box designed to fit inside the user's (bettor's) pocket. (The two transmittor units which were used to time the speed of the roulette wheel were fitted inside the shoes of the bettor's partner.)

Edward Thorp, mathematics professor, hedge-fund pioneer, and inventor of modern card-counting, worked with Claude Shannon to design and build this device, part of two component system that could "predict"or enable a user to beat the roulette. The project involved extensive experimentation and testing (averaging 20 hours a week for nine-months) at Shannon's home workshop in Winchester, Massachusetts. In August 1961, Thorp and Shannon (accompanied by their wives Vivian and Betty) met in Las Vegas to test their device. The device worked but the Thorps and Shannons were so nervous about being caught that they abandoned the project. In 1961, there were no laws prohibiting the use of computers in casinos but Thorp, already famous for his Blackjack card counting technique, felt the Casino management might catch on quickly. (The state of Nevade did not make sucha ban until 1985.) In 1966, Thorp announced the existence of the computer and began to publish articles about it. The MIT Media Laboratory has suggested that this device was likely the first "wearable computer."