A Wearable Card-Counting Computer ... in 1972
Ed Uthman, Blackjack.co.za
Years before Steve Jobs and Bill Gates invented personal computers, Baptist family man Keith Taft built a personal computer for the sole purpose of cheating at blackjack. Only back in 1972, it didn't count as cheating, because no one had invented rules against using computers to count cards for you -- because no one had invented computers that weren't football-field size. No one, that is, except for Keith Taft.
Trust us, those holes are not work safe.
Sure, the electronic behemoth he stashed in his gut weighed in at 15 pounds and was controlled with switches above and below Taft's big toes in his shoes. And yes, it had the processing power of a modern musical greeting card. But you don't exactly need a supercomputer to count cards. The real miracle was that Taft walked around Reno without getting pegged as a suicide bomber.
"I don't count toward the 72 virgins, right?"
And that his foot didn't flat out turn him into a cyborg.
You should've seen his underwear.
So how exactly does a computer help you win at blackjack? As Taft played the game, he used his toes to input the cards that were dealt. His belly computer did some quick calculations, then transmitted codes for the remaining cards through LED lights hidden in the frames of his Buddy Holly glasses. So it was kind of like the Google Glasses, but with flashing red lights instead of text. It was like an ambulance in his eyeballs!
The trouble was that Taft didn't always win. So over the years, he and his son teamed up with the big boys, all the while developing smaller and smaller devices. One computer magically tracked where the cards fell after a shuffle. Another connected members of the cheat team through tiny wires -- in other words, a computer network. In 1982. We're pretty sure that's the kind of thing that could get you hanged for witchcraft back then.
"Burn him! Burn that kindly looking older gentleman!"
A few of Benjamin's friends will be appearing in a movie later this year. You can watch the trailer here!
For more real-life events that belong on film, check out The 6 Most Terrifying Historical Car Races and 6 Insane Prison Escapes That Actually Happened.