Give this Google Chinese New Year shadow puppet game a try

It’s Chinese New Year’s eve, if you’ve gotten all your prep work done and have nothing to do while you wait for the festivities to begin, give this rather interesting game a try.

Developed by Google, the game is based on shadow puppets – you know, the thing you do with your hands to make shadows that look like animal shapes. Google combined shadow puppetry with the power of artificial intelligence to create Shadow Art – an AI experiment that celebrates Lunar New Year, the zodiac animals from the lunar cycle, and the ancient art of shadow puppetry.

“We’ve seen how technology can help connect people with culture, tradition, and art forms such as shadow play. So today, we’re bringing this experience onIine as a new AI experiment, Shadow Art.”, Google said in an email announcing the release of the AI game.

Shadow Art is made with AI. It’s a web browser-based game that lets you experience AI and shadow puppetry in a playful way. To be able to bring what used to be an offline experience online, we used a library called tensorflow.js, which makes it easy to run and train a machine learning model directly in the browser.

How does Shadow Art work?

You use your hands to form one of twelve zodiac animals from the lunar cycle in front of your laptop or phone camera, trying to match your hand to the diagram on the screen. The ‘shadow’ of your hands on the screen then transform into a shadow puppet animal.

It sounds easy enough, but you have twenty seconds for each animal. The goal is to go through the full lunar cycle as fast as possible. See if you can make it all the way to the end for a little surprise.

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Give Shadow Art a try here.

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Amin Ashaari