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2-Year-Olds Convert Binary To Hexadecimals In Game Experiment (flippybitandtheattackofthehexadecimalsfr...)
88 points by m0rph3v5 on April 1, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 55 comments

WARNING: Loud and obnoxious 8-bit music on autoplay when the page loads.

Not sure who made the music, but it's the same theme from http://www.rocketjump.com/blog/play-terminal-velocity

Nearly gave me an heart attack

Is there no way to mute it?

"8-bit music" is a non-sequitur.

That many downvotes is a bit harsh. Methinks he's referring to the fact that most "music" produced on 8-bit devices in the 1980s had the musical value of an overture for solo kazoo.

Wow really guys? You downvoters, you're saying the music is literally represented with 8 bits?

"Music which is reminiscent of a game console from the late 80s until the early 90s, where the sound was produced by dedicated 8-bit sound chips, working alongside 8-bit primary CPU and using 8-bit DAC for conversion to analog output."

Is this better?

Or how about just "8-bit music".

Or, you know, chip music. Since the music is mostly mp3 it's not 8-bit.

I'm surprised a community as pedantic as this one doesn't get it.

8-bit music is a nickname for a music genre.

8-bit audio sampling is a specific level of digital audio fidelity.

Human language is context sensitive. Pedantic doesn't mean we have to be stupid.

Please let this be real, and back on the iOS App Store soon. My kids would so play & learn from this, just as they've spent lots of time on DragonBox learning core concepts of algebra.

The most annoying thing about April Fool's Day is everything that should be real but isn't, and everything that is real but shouldn't.

Maybe it's an april fools, but the game is actually there, and it's playable.

The solution is to memorize the 4-bit sequence of each of the 16 digits, type the left nibble with your left hand and the right nibble with the right on the number row.

It takes a few minutes of practice

You have just learned how to use chmod correctly! The only difference is chmod uses octal, instead of hex.

Nice game! As it stands, later 'enemies' appear higher than more recent (and therefore more imminent) ones. The downside is that you sometimes can't read a number properly because it's occluded—with that font, the bottom of a character is not sufficient to identify what the character is.

My suggestion is to have the enemy z-index start at a high number and decrement per enemy (eg, z-index = 1000 - enemy_number). Trivial fix, and that way more pertinent enemies are on top with their numbers visible.

So I assume this is an April Fools? Not sure, and I hate expanding efforts on filtering April Fools.

Tried the game, it's nice. Got 1 point on my first try, somehow managed 15 points on the second. I don't think a baby would get any points, so I'll go with April Fools.

If it is an April fool, then it is not entirely off the mark as satire. It isn't uncommon to see reviews of apps like Dragonbox and Slice Fractions where bloggers claim "my 5 year old can do algebra"[] or "my 3 year old can do fractions".

[] My son could play Dragonbox when he was 3, so I am not knocking the game, but I am skeptical it will be of much use when he does algebra in school.

My 5-year old daughter played through Dragonbox pretty quickly and afterward I went through some concepts with her like x/x = 1 or 1x = x.

When shown to her using fractions of a drawn circle or simple multiplication of real objects, she seemed to understand the concept in the abstract.

However, once I introduced something like ayx/yx = a, it seemed to trip her up, even though the motions in Dragonbox made sense to her.

That said, I'm not sure I understood why x/x = 1 until much after 5 years old, so maybe there's something to be said about going through the motions of computation before truly understanding the general concept.

The domain the interview is on (scientificworldnews.org) was created March 27, 2014 and is owned by Q42, the makers of the game.

At 0:32 in the video of the child playing, the rockets line up before the target number is visible on the screen.

Perhaps the child figured out the PRNG.

I'm betting it isn't actually.

The best are a bit in between.

The thing is, this isn't that difficult of a task. The disadvantage adults have in a task like this is, I believe without scientific evidence, the learned helplessness that so many adults have, probably induced from years of "education". A three year old flips through an iPad interface because nobody even thought to tell them it was hard; an adult that can't pick that up probably can't pick it up because they believe they can't pick it up.

In this case, there's 16 whole patterns to learn, and the patterns themselves are highly patterned so it's even easier than that. It's well within what a very young child can do. It's far easier than walking or speaking in sentences, those tasks that many two years olds already do better than our best AIs. (Yes, 2/3 year olds have characteristic grammar failures typical to the age... but then again, our best general-purpose AIs still botch things up too...)

Whether it's a faked video or not, I don't know or care... I see no reason to believe that a certain set of 2 years olds could do this, that a much larger set of 3 year olds could do this, and the vast majority of 4 year olds could do this, as long as they can concentrate for long enough. Indeed I would expect them to find this a boring task relatively quickly, because it's not that challenging.

Fully agree with jerf on that, adults not only have the mental barrier, but also their mental adaptivity ratio is lower than that of kids. I am not sure, if it's just the neural plasticity that's reason for this or the amount of neural circuitry's rewiring that is necessary at a higher age, due to more synaptic connections.

I mean chinese parents who teach their kids to learn many languages, maths etc. at age 1 and up may be cruel, but if they actually don't force the kids, but let them have fun and let them do those tasks voluntarily, then I fully support the early education method.

Nice one! Converting Binary to Hexadecimals is easy when you've got experience from coding assembler on your Commodore 64. Just remember the 4 bits for each hexadecimal digit. Then enter the 4 bits of the first digit with your left hand and the 4 bits of the seconds digit with your right hand.

I can't believe that URL wasn't already taken.


Just had my two year old daughter beat me at this game. Thanks for destroying my self-esteem.

I’m interested in this "experiment", but my daughter is too old to try (12 years old) :(.

How many time / tries did she need to understand the game?

Did you give her any clues about how to play? Can she read some letters?

Wait, are you serious? Or is this more April Fools?

Actually. It's - unfortunately for me - partly true. She was able to figure out that you're able to use the number keys before me, and actually hitting 1A... I was fiddling around with my mouse up to that moment :|

(Semi off topic: I don't know how far developed your offspring is, but my four days shy of two years old is only able to count up to three and recognize her own name when written down sufficiently large ;)

Edit: she's also able to mash key's like a perl programmer)

So the game was really hard to begin with, until I realised...

The hex numbers are two digits, and you can treat them both separately, so use the first 4 bits for the first hex digit and the second 4 bits for the second.

If you were brute forcing, this reduces the search space from 256 options to 32.

A good reminder of how you can handle hex. Really nice.

Apparently, I'm the only one who can't figure out how to play. It seems you're supposed to launch missiles, but all I can do is make them pop into and out of the ground. As soon as the first bug reaches the ground, I lose, regardless of how many missiles I have showing.

Bugs have a hex number of them, you need to match it with a binary representation with rockets.. I'm still slower than that kid.

Missiles correspond to the binary representation of the hex number. All possible values of one hex digit can be represented by 4 binary digits, and vice versa. As an example: to hit an AF hex you need six 1010(A) 1111(F) missiles. To hit 24 hex you need only two missiles: 0010(2) 0100(4)

Try selecting the missiles so that they equal the number of the bug (missiles are binary, bug numbers are hex). The box on the lower right shows you what you've selected.

Being able to rebind the keys would be really nice. The keys are decently intuitive, but it sucks pretty bad if you have a split keyboard.

This is the next 2048 for me at least. Simple, fun, addicting. Achieved a highscore of 41 before my wrist caved in.

That game got a lot more fun when I found out the number keys work ... it's like playing a hexadecimal piano!

This was indeed an April fools joke ;). Our idea for the joke came a little too late to get our iOS version reviewed in time. So that one is on its way to Apple as we speak. Thanks for the great comments, it was a pleasure to read them!

Their update says it was removed from the Apple App Store. I can't find out why, does anyone know (or might be able to hazard an educated guess) why it was taken down?

I guess they baned the word “flappy” in all their forms, to prevent an avalanche of “flappy bird” clones, and that includes “flippy”. The game mechanics is totally unrelated, but the name is “too” similar, for a very low value of similarity.

They've got a Levenshtein distance of 3 (replace 'a' with 'i', delete 'd', replace 'r' with 't').

"Seven percent of the test group could bitshift"

Well, that's easy, binary to decimal is a lot harder.

Can anyone explain how to win at this game? How to you determine the binary representation of a two-character hex number in your head?

I didn't look at the game, but converting from hex to binary is easy since one of those bases is a power of the other. It's a 16-entry lookup table, but just like memorizing the multiplication table, there are easy-to-remember patterns. The fact that there are two digits just means to do it twice and concatenate the results (padding to 4 bits first).

Same way you convert one-character hex to binary. Then you simply do it again.

Ah of course. I forgot :-)

Tips to convert fast:

1. Remember each digit is 4 bits, you can solve separately

E1 -> E 1 -> 1110 0001

2. Solve as even then just flip the last bit for odd

Now this is a pretty cool April Fools thing.

After a few tries my high score is 0x13 :D

Of course, I'm about to try again.

(really needs a shorter URL too. too bad flippybit.com is taken.)

My first game was 1 point. I tried clicking on the falling bugs and saw some numbers lighting up, but I didn't quite realize I had to click on the numbers at the bottom to 'prep' rockets.

My next game was a much more respectable 25.

Heh. I keep beating my high score in almost every new game I play.

if u mash the keys from 1-8 randomly , its pretty easy to score big ;)

5 woot!

Caught some lucky numbers FE was first!

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