October 18, 2002
BROOKE GLADSTONE: And joining me now with a similar innovation is James Foreminard who has developed a device called The Casino Reader. Welcome to OTM.
JAMES FOREMINARD: Thanks very much Brooke.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So tell me about your device.
JAMES FOREMINARD: Well it's a hand-held scanner that's used in casinos so that people with visual problems can enjoy one of America's fastest-growing recreation activities -- gaming.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Well this may sound silly but can't visually-impaired people play blackjack and craps and roulette?
JAMES FOREMINARD:Well, those games, yes. You know the dealer or croupier if you will calls out what the player has. But there's one important exception, Brooke. Poker.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Ah! And that's where the casino reader comes in.
JAMES FOREMINARD:Correct. I get my cards dealt face-down, so if I'm blind, which I'm not but I have friends who are, but if I'm blind, how do I read the cards?
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Well they could be in Braille.
JAMES FOREMINARD:I thought of that, but the bumps end up interfering with shuffling. Anyway, if you just hold the casino reader device over the cards it tells you what you have!
BROOKE GLADSTONE: I see you've brought one into the studio with you.
JAMES FOREMINARD:Right. This is our personal model. We also have one that's actually mounted over the table. But this one here - let's power it up-- [CASINO READER TURNS ON]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: I'll deal. Five card draw, and-- [DEALING CARDS] there - you should have 5 cards in front of you.
JAMES FOREMINARD: Right. Okay. Now let's get ready to read--
ROBOTIC VOICE: 6 of clubs. 7 of clubs. 9 of spades. 8 of spades. queen of diamonds.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: I'll take 3 cards.
JAMES FOREMINARD: And I'll take one.
ROBOTIC VOICE: 4 of clubs.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: I'll bet a dollar.
JAMES FOREMINARD: I'll see your dollar and raise you 5--
BROOKE GLADSTONE: I'll raise you back 5.
JAMES FOREMINARD: Call.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: I have a pair of 7's!
JAMES FOREMINARD: Eugh! I just had a Queen-high. I, I was bluffing.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Yeah. James, isn't there a fundamental flaw with the casino reader?
JAMES FOREMINARD:You're right, Brooke, and I'm glad you brought that up. A card player needs not only to read his cards, but also read is opponent's expressions - so with a facial recognition attachment you just hold it up to your opponent's face - like I'm, like I'm doing right now - just-- play a high card - I, I have--
ROBOTIC VOICE: 8 of spaces.
JAMES FOREMINARD: Here pick a card - any card - just-- look at it and see if you beat my 8.
ROBOTIC VOICE: Brow furrowed. Lips pursed. Pupil dilation -moderate.
JAMES FOREMINARD: I think I beat you Brooke.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: No, actually I had a 9.
JAMES FOREMINARD: Oh! You were bluffing. Very - very good Brooke!
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Well James, thanks for coming in. It was a pleasure.
ROBOTIC VOICE: Pupil dilation - high - bluff alert. Bluff alert.
JAMES FOREMINARD: Thank you.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: James Foreminard is the inventor of The Casino Reader.
ROBOTIC VOICE: Ears perked. Teeth grinding. Hair unruly. [THEME MUSIC UP AND UNDER] Bluff alert. Bluff Warning. Danger! Danger! Stop the humanoid!
BOB GARFIELD: That's it for this week's show. On the Media was produced by Janeen Price and Katya Rogers with Megan Ryan; engineered by Dylan Keefe, Rob Christiansen, George Edwards and Irene Trudel, and edited-- by Brooke. We had help from Natasha Korgaonkar, Andy Lanset, Sharon Bidwell and Sean Collins. Our webmaster is Amy Pearl.
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Mike Pesca is our producer at large, Arun Rath our senior producer and Dean Capello our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. You can listen to the program and get free transcripts at onthemedia.org and e-mail us at email@example.com. This is On the Media from NPR. I'm Brooke Gladstone.
BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield. [MUSIC TAG] [FUNDING CREDITS]