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.

More Shrinking Thinking, Continued

Detroit mayor Dave Bing came out strong in favor of reducing the operational size of the city recently, raising the specter of future campaigns to urge some Detroit residents to leave their homes for other blocks or neighborhoods in the city.

"You can't support every neighborhood," Bing told WJR's Frank Beckmann. "You can't support every community across this city. Those communities that are stable, we can't allow them to go down the tubes. That's not a good business decision from my vantage point."

Bing acknowledged it won't be "an easy conversation."

No, it won't be. And it shouldn't be, given that there are still countless Detroiters with deep ties to their homes and communities. (I think, for instance, about all the older people I've known over the years who've purchased vacant lots on either side of their well-kept homes and turned those lots into garden shrines, at once beautifying their own residences and staving off the decay of a surrounding block.) But still, that conversation is one we're going to have to have — unless someone can explain how a city with a plummeting population and a roughly $300-million budget deficit can still afford to provide municipal services to nearly 140 square miles of land, where more than 35 percent of residential lots sit vacant.

Of course, even though I favor the idea of shrinking the city, I'm anxious about how Mayor Bing will and can do it. I've talked to people connected with city development efforts, and I've enjoyed much of what I've heard. But ultimately it is the mayor who's going to have to provide a concrete plan and leadership on this thing— and I hope that will come served with some fair-minded policies on how to deal with relocating homeowners. In fact, if there was one thing about Bing's remarks that did disturb me, it was what seemed to be an implication that the city wouldn't (couldn't?) provide equal services to residents who won't leave desolate neighborhoods.

"If we don't do it, you know this whole city is going to go down. I'm hopeful people will understand that," Bing said. "If we can incentivize some of those folks that are in those desolate areas, they can get a better situation."

"If they stay where they are I absolutely cannot give them all the services they require."

I will admit that I'm questioning whether I'm reading that last line right, but on its surface, the statement seems like an impolitic one to make. I mean, if you really can't provide services, that's one thing. But in this context, at least to me, the line rings as as much a threat as a dire administrative prognostication. And like I said, I favor shrinking the city -- but can you really pull that one on tax-paying residents, even in largely abandoned neighborhoods? (Or even on those too broke to pay taxes?) Legally, I mean? I'm no constitutional scholar, but I have my concerns.

That said, it seems to me that Bing does need to start talking in more direct terms about other potential sticks and carrots here, including the most controversial and historically checkered stick of all -- eminent domain. Again, he's right when he says it won't be an easy discussion to have, and that doesn't just go for the residents.

John Mogk, a Wayne State law school professor, said Bing's on the right track but will face four major challenges: political support; money; creating a bureaucracy to administer the project and legal challenges.

Among the court challenges he sees ahead include the legality of cutting off city services to particular neighborhoods and using eminent domain to relocate residents. In 2006, voters approved a prohibition on government's ability to take property for economic development.

"It's a huge challenge," Mogk said. "No other city in terms of Detroit's scale ... has yet to face up to what it needs to do and has accomplished it."

Big challenge there, but no surprise. And prohibition or not, it'll be interesting to see what the mayor is willing to turn to if/when push comes to shove on resident relocation.

Opposite Bing, though, is an other intriguing stance: That of those who seem to think that Detroit doesn't need to reduce its operational size.

And he's already facing opposition from activists such as Ron Scott, who said he is "adamantly opposed" and believes the business community is pushing Bing to get cheap access to large tracts of the city."Sounds like reservations to me, it sounds like telling people to move," Scott said. "The citizens of the city of Detroit who built this city, the working class, didn't create this situation. You are diminishing the constitutional options people have by contending you have a crisis."

I get the part about constitutional options, but given that land is already dirt cheap here, how much more prodding does a business community that already enjoys cheap land prices and lucrative tax breaks have to do? And while I agree that working-class people didn't create many of Detroit's structural problems, working-class and poor residents are also those most affected by those problems. So I think the same land-management question should be posed to those who oppose the idea of reducing Detroit's operational size as to those who favor it: What, really, is the plan?

Frankly, I'm still mulling this one over, even after this post, and would really like to hear some enlightened views on this whole situation. Is Bing wise to play the "city services" card this early in the game, if at all? What options does Detroit have when it comes to offering incentives for residents to move? Is eminent domain really off the table? Or are you of the mind that Detroit doesn't need to shrink at all, that there's another way to handle city land management and an affordable distribution of services? Share.

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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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