Santa Claws—the new Crane Machine Game to Help the Homeless

Santa Claws the new Crane Machine Game to Help the Homeless

Liberty Games, U.K.-based game room company, figured out a novel way for anyone to play one of its stand-alone games while sitting in the comfort of their homes, this Christmas 2017.

The company hooked up a crane machine to the internet, allowing anyone to be able control it, calling it Santa Claws. The game is different from usual games, as it translates any toys caught into real currency. The cash won would then be donated to St Mungo’s—a charity providing support to the homeless.

The company attached a camera to the front of a Sierra crane machine. This allowed the company to livestream the crane, however, requiring people on the other end to be able to control it through a web browser. PiFace and PiRack codes were used to code an API for the crane that allows its functions to be controlled remotely, and also sends feedback when a game is over or a prize is scored. The result is a webpage with a live feed of the crane machine and four controls to nab a toy within 40 seconds.

Crane machines are known to be hard to win due to the machine’s pay-out ratio. This ratio is a rate where the strength of the claw can be adjusted relative to how many wins the machine detects via infrared beams that are across the prize slot.

However, the company has adjusted the ratio in such a way that maximum prizes can be won, so as to collect maximum cash for the donation.

Liberty Games has previously experimented an online game of pinball machine, as done for the crane machine for charity in 2015.

The game has been recommended to be played in Firefox for the best results and was online till December 22, 2017. Such initiatives are driving growth of the IoT globally. The increasing use of 2G, 3G, and 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless networks are enabling convenient communication via the internet, in turn boosting demand for internet of things, as per IoT market report published by Coherent Market Insights.

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