Arduboy Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale - TIME
TIME Gadgets

Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale Soon

TAKE MY MONEY!

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The above video showcases a credit card-sized whatsit with a built-in screen, control pad and two buttons. It plays Tetris! If you’re not convinced by now that we’re either at or very near the pinnacle of human ingenuity, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to convince you otherwise and I’m not sure it’s worth your time to keep reading this. We should amicably go our separate ways.

For the rest of you, this project is called Arduboy. It’s about a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs north of nine hours of battery life. Its creator, Kevin Bates, created the proof-of-concept you see in the above video and has plans to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to sell these things, complete with a website where people can share other types of software and games they create for Arduboy.

Bates writes on his site that he wants to use Kickstarter to raise $820 to cover licensing costs. I write here that he’ll probably be able to raise that amount faster than he can clear the first level of Tetris. He’ll also probably have to sell the cards without a game loaded onto them to avoid legal issues, though.

No word on how much a final version would cost, but you can visit Bates’ website to read more about how the project came together, complete with photos of the Qdoba and REI gift cards he used to test some of the early builds.

My business card plays Tetris [YouTube via The Next Web]

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One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Urban Battle: Can Robert Bobb Save Detroit's Schools?

In this week's edition of TIME, we profile Detroit Public Schools' emergency financial officer, Robert Bobb. Here's an excerpt:

On a recent morning, a crowd filled a downtown Detroit courtroom for the sentencing of a 19-year-old ninth-grade dropout caught breaking into a public school, apparently to steal computers. The hearing's main attraction was not the guilty man or the judge but Robert Bobb, the state-appointed emergency financial manager of Detroit's public schools. In the last six months of 2009, Bobb told the court, nearly 500 computers were stolen from schools, costing his system some $600,000. "The Detroit public-school system isn't an electronics store," he said.

This isn't the kind of problem most school chiefs in the U.S. have to worry about. A year ago, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm gave Bobb, the former president of Washington, D.C.'s Board of Education, the task of ending the financial crisis that has devastated the Detroit public-school system. In the past decade, the number of Detroit public-school students has plummeted from more than 167,000 to 84,600, mainly because of the emergence of charter schools and the middle class's exodus to the suburbs. It could fall further, to 65,000 in the next four years. Those trends, if they persist, will further erode revenues of a school system saddled with a $219 million budget deficit. So Bobb is trying to squeeze out the waste in the meantime, and he has built an investigative apparatus that has uncovered widespread corruption, including nearly 3,800 unauthorized dependents on employee health-insurance rolls. In the case of the ninth-grade dropout, the judge essentially followed Bobb's suggestion: the 19-year-old was ordered to spend up to 23 months in a boot camp and finish high school.

Beyond saving money, Bobb sees his mission in broader terms: to improve the system's miserable academic performance. Again, the situation is dire. Last month brought news that more than three-quarters of the 900 eighth-graders who took a national math exam scored at "below basic" levels. In October 2008, some 57% of Detroit third- through eighth-graders essentially failed a state writing test. Detroit's graduation rate is 58%. "The system is academically bankrupt. This is almost academic homicide," Bobb says.

Here's the full story.

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 Arduboy Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale - TIME
TIME Gadgets

Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale Soon

TAKE MY MONEY!

+ READ ARTICLE

The above video showcases a credit card-sized whatsit with a built-in screen, control pad and two buttons. It plays Tetris! If you’re not convinced by now that we’re either at or very near the pinnacle of human ingenuity, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to convince you otherwise and I’m not sure it’s worth your time to keep reading this. We should amicably go our separate ways.

For the rest of you, this project is called Arduboy. It’s about a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs north of nine hours of battery life. Its creator, Kevin Bates, created the proof-of-concept you see in the above video and has plans to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to sell these things, complete with a website where people can share other types of software and games they create for Arduboy.

Bates writes on his site that he wants to use Kickstarter to raise $820 to cover licensing costs. I write here that he’ll probably be able to raise that amount faster than he can clear the first level of Tetris. He’ll also probably have to sell the cards without a game loaded onto them to avoid legal issues, though.

No word on how much a final version would cost, but you can visit Bates’ website to read more about how the project came together, complete with photos of the Qdoba and REI gift cards he used to test some of the early builds.

My business card plays Tetris [YouTube via The Next Web]

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 MIT Student Creates Connect Four Playing Robot for Course Final - TIME
TIME technology

This Robot Would Very Much Like to Play a Game of Connect Four With You

Game on

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When the singularity finally hits and artificial intelligence takes over everything, at least we know some of the robots will know how to have a good time — like this Connect Four-playing bot, programmed by MIT student Patrick McCabe.

Users can choose between four levels of difficulty and can even ask for a hint if needed. Head over to McCabe’s website for a detailed breakdown of how the machine works. In the meantime, watch here as the bot beats McCabe in the first round — and even taunts him a little bit before clinching the game.

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