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.

The Dead of Winter, Continued

Winter continues to take its toll on poor families in Detroit, forcing desperate actions and risky choices onto those least equipped to bear the brunt of subzero temperatures and pounding snowfalls. As I've said before, if it's not the cold that kills you, then it's the very tools used to stay ahead of the cold, the cheap electric blankets or treacherous space heaters or jury-rigged power boxes.

In January, for instance, two elderly brothers and a 58-year-old woman died in house fire believed to have started as a result of a space heater. An 81-year-old man died and his 41-year-old son was left in critical condition in February after a fire erupted at their home, which they were trying to heat with space heaters and an over. Now, three children are dead, two others are in critical condition and four others barely escaped alive, after a blaze ravaged their west side home on Tuesday -- not long after their mother had left the house to go buy space heaters.

The deaths have whipped up intense passions among some of Detroit's most outspoken grassroots leaders, who say the tragedies have occurred largely because local utility giant DTE callously severs, or refuses to restore, electricity and gas service to poor residents during the hard winter months. One group, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, called for a protest today at DTE headquarters in downtown Detroit.

“DTE must turn on service for everyone, establish a moratorium on shut-offs, and develop affordable service plans for low-income people," MWRO president Marian Kramer was quoted as saying last month. "For over 10 years, MWRO has attended the funerals of seniors, mothers, babies and other poor people after they died while trying to stay warm in their homes.”

On the flip side, DTE, which touts its assistance programs for low-income customers as examples of its efforts to prevent tragic service interruptions, denies any responsibility for the deaths. And, at least in the case of Tuesday's blaze, the company is suggesting that jury-rigged attempts to stay ahead of the shutoffs may have played a role in the fire...

Scott Simons, DTE spokesman, said a previous resident had DTE cut off services to the home Dec. 11. No one had asked for it to be restored since then, he said.

Simons said the incident was a clear case of utility theft: DTE workers found the cut locks from the electric meter box on the ground outside of the burned home Wednesday morning.

Look, I don't doubt that there are many at DTE who want to work better with poor customers to stem horrible accidents like these fires. And I get that the company is in business to make a profit, not to give away gas and heat. But even in a down economy DTE clocked more than $2 billion in revenue last year, while losing about $100 million due to power thefts.

And while I get that losses in business aren't cool, losing human beings is far more unacceptable. And right now, that's what's happening. Our people are dying out there — our children, our elderly, our disabled.

So DTE needs to do a whole lot more to help prevent these deaths. And, yes, in the face of winters like ours, that includes restoring service even to those who can afford it the least (or not all) -- because no one should have to pay with his or her life.

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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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