Google Just Developed This Cool Interactive Shadow Puppet Game

Just in time for the Chinese New Year!

( The art of shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling present in various cultures. It has a long history in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia, but it's also known to be a folk tradition in India and Nepal. In China, shadow plays are often staged for the Lunar New Year, and to celebrate the occasion this year, Google created a browser-based game called Shadow Art, which allows users to simulate the shadow-puppet experience through their devices.

The game uses artificial intelligence technology to analyze the "shadow" of your hands on the screen. You win the game by recreating the shadow puppets of each Chinese zodiac sign, matching your hands to the outlines provided. It sounds easy enough, but it's actually harder than one might expectyou only have 20 seconds to get each one right!

"With technology, I'm hoping to help connect people to this ancient art form," says Elaine Zhu, producer of Shadow Art, in a Google blog post, saying the browser-based game is actually the online version of an interactive installation they had in September 2018.


Google used TensorFlow, an open-source artificial intelligence (AI) library for deep learning, in order to "build and train a machine learning model directly in the browser." Deep learning is an algorithim that's often used to automate tasks performed by human visual systems to deliver super-human accuracy for image and object detection.

Shadow Art can be played on any device with Google Chrome and other compatible browsers.

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