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Feeling stressed? Playing Pictionary with a robot might help

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott

These are strange times. Around the world, people are confined to their homes as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads through our countries. Maybe you’re working from home and your new colleagues (aka your loud, messy and stressy housemates) are getting on your nerves. Perhaps you’ve spent a little too long scrolling through news stories. Whatever your situation, chances are your brain needs a break from reality. And that’s where this simple little game comes in. 

Quick, Draw! is a free-to-play game, made with Google, that’s also an AI experiment to see if a ‘neural network’ can learn to recognise human doodles. It’s basically playing Pictionary with a robot, okay?

‘Help teach it by adding your drawings to the world’s largest doodling data set, shared publicly to help with machine learning research,’ reads the site. 

The game gives you six words or phrases (like ‘face’, ‘avocado’, ‘mouse’, ‘table’, ‘camel’ and, er, ‘animal migration’) and you have 20 seconds to doodle until the robot guesses, or fails to guess, what you've drawn.

The fast-paced game is pretty addictive and weirdly mindful. It genuinely calmed me down when I started playing it last night, and I have pretty much been playing it on the hour, every hour since.

Heart rate on the rise? Give it a go – and send us your silliest doodles please. 

More distracting things to do? 

Stream a digital yoga class 

Gaze at these world-famous city views from the comfort of your sofa 

Go to a virtual art exhibition

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