Armed with a comprehensive, scientific approach for detecting all forms of marked cards, and a clear-cut development plan for a complete line of random-selection shufflers, the next step was to find the best technologies for detecting marked cards, integrate the technologies into the shufflers, and design the network that would allow the shufflers to communicate with each other and with casino personnel.
ST talked with several companies specializing in ‘computer vision,’ a fast-moving technology in high demand by the industrial, automotive, medical, and defense industries to name a few. Without exception, the collective response was overwhelmingly positive, as was the case with CAID Automation, a company specializing in manufacturing custom equipment, automated assembly, vision inspection, integration, robotics, and many other processes:
“Our experience with this technology leads us to conclude that today’s industrial sensors are easily capable of detecting far more subtle variations than the human eye is capable of seeing, even with wearable visual enhancement apparatus such as contact lenses. Today’s commercially available sensors are also capable of identifying a wide variety of marks visible only to highly specialized cameras capable of detecting marks that fall outside the parameters of the normal viewing spectrum.”
After several meetings, ST retained the services of different technology partners for different purposes, all with the collective goal of executing the following plan:
- explore the seemingly endless variety of cameras, lighting sources, and related devices to determine the optimal technologies for detecting all forms of marked cards
- build a proof-of-concept (PoC) and testing unit to confirm image capture capabilities at shuffling speed (approximately one card per 0.5 second)
- determine the tests (algorithms) to accurately detect all forms of marked cards
- integrate the technology into the ST shufflers, starting with a prismatic-mirror-based system that allows the camera(s) to be mounted below the table to maintain a low profile
- develop a network that would enable shufflers to communicate with (a) each other, (b) casino personnel, and (b) other subsidiary/sister casinos
The PoC unit serves as ST’s own testing laboratory, offering the flexibility to test virtually any device, sensor, component or algorithm under game conditions, as we can feed cards through the PoC unit at shuffling speeds and trigger the analysis in milliseconds. ST continues to make several important developments and home in on the ultimate card-marking-detection system!