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]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Should Detroit Re-Think Its Policy of Preferences For Local Businesses?

The new Detroit City Council has barely been installed, but there's controversy flying already.

Recently, some council members caught flak for suggesting that the city consider amending its policy of offering contract preferences to Detroit-based businesses.

Currently, when the city puts a contract out for bid, potential vendors are judged on the basis of a range of criteria that are measured on a point system. For instance, companies get as many as 20 points for competence. A maximum of 20 points can be given for a competitive price, too. Each bidder is allowed a maximum of 100 points. A Detroit-based business automatically begins the process with 30 points.

And this is where the argument begins.

Those who favor the current system contend that it's necessary to ensure that Detroit businesses, many of them small and minority-owned, are given a fair opportunity to procure contracts with the city. Changes to the system, they say, would disadvantage these and other local businesses and could be a long-term detriment to employment in the city. Many of these proponents also argue that these local businesses need the system to remain as is because businesses based in the city are often shut out of legitimate chances to win contracts in other places in the area, such as Oakland County. Finally, many of them question whether local politicians challenging the current ordinance aren't, in fact, carrying water for business interests outside the city in exchange for political and financial support.

But some members of the council, as well as Detroit mayor Dave Bing and others, are asking that the city re-consider whether the policy means that Detroit taxpayers are spending more for some goods and services than they should. While no one is calling for the abolition of the preference ordinance — such policies are common in many other municipalities around the country — some are saying that Detroit-based businesses now receive too many points for their location.

“As a CFO, I could not offset it even if I wanted to,” Harris said. “I could not offset the advantage that this Detroit-based business ordinance gives to the Detroit-based business. A Detroit-based business can lose 28 or 29 points and still get the contract. They can actually charge more for services.”

Harris said that during his tenure as auditor general he provided a memo to the City Council that showed that a contract would cost $500,000 more each year if awarded to a Detroit-based business.

“They approved it,” he said.

That's the kind of scenario Pugh hopes to avoid.

“We need to be inclusive, but we should not bind ourselves from getting the best deal,” he said.

Cardenas wrote that while Bing believes that Detroit-based businesses should be supported “whenever possible, the city should not be placed at a disadvantage if Detroit-based-businesses are not competitive in price or quality.”

Jenkins said she supports a preference for Detroit-based businesses, but thinks the point level should be lowered, saying that awarding 10 or 15 points for a Detroit-based business could be appropriate.

I'm certainly all for the preferences for Detroit-based businesses (particularly those that make a point of hiring Detroiters). I think any entrepreneur who sets up shop in Detroit proper should be given credit for the investment, and the city only encourages further investment in Detroit with such a policy. But does the current preference ordinance go too far? Is it really saddling the city with inflated contracts? Or are the criticisms of the ordinance short-sighted and motivated by crass political cronyism?

  • Print
  • Comment

Add Your Comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.
The Detroit Blog Daily E-mail

Get e-mail updates from TIME's The Detroit Blog in your inbox and never miss a day.

 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]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
 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

+ READ ARTICLE

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.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser