AUG 21, 2017 05:47 AM PDT

How Claw Machines are Rigged

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
3 3 359

Claw machines: They're the ever-popular games that are ubiquitous in every mall and arcade. The premise is simple (and seemingly quite economical). Pop in two quarters, and you get the chance to maneuver the claws to grab any toy or gadget of your desire. Whatever you grab, you keep.

But anyone who has fallen for this machine once knows that the odds of successfully grabbing anything (let alone a brand-new iPhone) is next to nil. And it's not unlucky coincidences either - these machines are designed for players to lose. The strength of the claws (aka how strongly it'll grab hold onto an object) is programmable. In addition, the claws can also be programmed to drop objects in midair - a calculating trick to make players think they have a chance. In short, all the mechanics of the claws have been carefully designed (rigged) so as to maximize the profits for the owner.

When it comes to claw machines, the odds are likely never in your favor; you'd be far more successful spending those quarters at a vending machine.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 06, 2018
Videos
JUL 06, 2018
The Impact of Junk Food on the Brain
Researchers have found that junk food stimulates neurons in our brains that cause a sense of reward.
JUL 08, 2018
Videos
JUL 08, 2018
They Say an Elephant Never Forgets...
They say an elephant never forgets, but is this really true? It’s a question that scientists have been trying to answer for ages, and as it turns out
JUL 10, 2018
Videos
JUL 10, 2018
At Four Years Old, This Girl Takes Her First Steps
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition that is usually present at birth. It’s common in children born prematurely. For one little girl, Maya
JUL 19, 2018
Videos
JUL 19, 2018
The Transition to Multicellular Life May Have Been Simple
It may have been relatively easy for complex organisms to form from one-celled microbes, researchers suggest.
JUL 21, 2018
Videos
JUL 21, 2018
Artificial Nerves May Transform Prosthetics
Researchers at Stanford made an artificial nerve that could move a cockroach leg.
JUL 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 24, 2018
What is UV Photography?
Human eyes see visible light, whose wavelength ranges between 400 and 750 nanometers (nm). To visualize anything lower than 400 nm, one can resort
Loading Comments...