Beat the dealer Edward Thorp
The other was MIT professor Claude Shannon, who worked on cryptography and code-breaking during World War II, and would go on to become known as the father of information theory - and, indeed, the information age. It's with Shannon that Thorp would revisit a question he had considered years earlier: whether he could apply mathematics to beat the game of roulette as he had done with blackjack. Thorp and Shannon would develop a friendship and, in the process of answering that question, build what is widely regarded to be the first wearable computer.
A proto-Google Glass it was not, in either form or function, but it would be some time before we'd see anything else resembling a wearable computer.
It's a device that's decidedly simple by today's definition of a computer; one designed for a single task - beating roulette - as opposed to a more general-purpose machine. It was also a homebrew project in the truest sense, looking like not much more than a small box stuffed with wires and electronics. Input and output were handled with the tap of a shoe and an audible tone in an earpiece, with the computer itself simply strapped around the waist. Then again, when you're trying to sneak a computer into a Vegas casino, one of your primary concerns is not being seen.
A proto-Google Glass it was not, in either form or function, but it would be some time before we'd see anything else resembling a wearable computer. It nonetheless offered an early hint at the more complex wearable devices that would follow decades later - from the pioneering work of Steve Mann and others in the 1980s and '90s, to today's smartwatches and activity trackers. And it's due in part to those devices that Thorp's wearable computer is remembered more now than ever before.
Thorp first revealed the computer and his ability to successfully predict roulette with it in the second edition of Beat the Dealer, published in 1966, although he only described it in broad terms. In it, Thorp wrote that he "played roulette on a regulation wheel in the basement lab of a world-famous scientist, " and that "in an hour's run, betting no more than $25 per number, we won a fictional $8, 000!" Thorp also noted that "there are certain electronic problems which have so far kept the method from being used on a large scale in the casinos."
Edward Oakley Thorp (born August 14, 1932, Chicago) is an American mathematics professor, author, hedge fund manager, and blackjack player. He was a pioneer in modern applications of probability theory, including the harnessing of very small correlations for reliable financial gain.
He was the author of Beat the Dealer, the first book to...
How to Play Blackjack: Best Beginner's Guide to Learning the Basics of the Blackjack Game! The Blackjack Rules, Odds, Winner Strategies and a Whole Lot More...