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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One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

A Rant About "Scrappers"

They are the vultures who feed on the carcasses of dying neighborhoods, the men (and occasionally women) who, armed with a few bolt cutters and screwdrivers and shopping carts, strip unoccupied buildings clean of copper wiring and metal pipes, aluminum siding and porcelain sinks, hot water heaters and gas furnaces. In Detroit, we call them "scrappers." And while I'm not sure of how much of a problem they present for other big cities, around these parts, the impact of these urban locusts can be seen in almost every neighborhood in the city.

Drive down almost almost any street in working-class Detroit and you're sure to see the scars of these people's handiwork on the abandon storefronts and homes you pass, right there in the pane-less windows and the siding-less exposed wood frames, in the sprigs of wires that jut from where electrical boxes used to be. Go inside these places and you'll find toilets and tubs missing, furnaces stolen, walls busted open by scrappers eager to rip out copper wiring. They feed on this city, decimating our housing stock, worsening property values, hastening the creation of eyesores and making it tougher for property owners to rehab, maintain and/or rent single homes, flats and even apartment buildings.

Popular perception is that these folks are dope fiends and bums desperate to feed their addictions or scrape up a few dollars to eat. And there's some truth in that perception. But as new charges by the city of Detroit suggest, it seems that the addicts aren't the only vampires feeding off of the desperation and desolation plaguing some parts of this city.

A representative of the owners of the decrepit Packard Motor Car plant has been charged after Detroit says inspectors found a crew removing structural steel without demolition permits.

Obviously, the Packard plant, which has been abandoned since the 1950s, needs to come down. But I'm tired of seeing miserable crooks turn fast bucks by feeding off the innards of this town. This type of infrastructural "cannibalism"  has become a cottage industry in metro Detroit, from the shady storefront owners who pay firebugs to torch their properties to the drugged-up scrappers who move through this region like termites through a tree stump. It's a story I know well, too, because I lived it...

A few years ago, the Wife and I moved to a new home and did our best to hold on to our old one. I didn't even sleep in our new home for the first week my family was there because I was huddled on the floor in the old house, trying to keep the scrappers away until we could rent it out. Fortunately, we found a tenant quickly.

But several months later, I just happened to be driving past that old house when I noticed mail piled on the front porch and other telltale signs that house was now unoccupied. (I found out later that the young woman we were renting to had moved out weeks ago and hadn't even bothered to let us know.) When I realized our tenant was gone, I was instantly filled with fear. Damn, the scrappers done got me, I immediately thought.

I whipped out my spare key and went inside and nearly cried at what I saw. The home that my wife and I had worked so hard to care for was a total dump. Wires were hanging out of walls that had been hastily ripped open. The water lines to our toilets and sinks had been severed and water allowed to freeze in the pipes. A block of yellow ice sat in one toilet bowl. In the kitchen, the twin refrigerators we'd left in the home had been snatched out of place and left unplugged. In the basement, the lines to the furnace had been cut. A hot water heater had been disconnected. In short, the scrappers were prepping my house to be thoroughly stripped and dismantled.

However, they'd left before finishing the job, apparently figuring they had more time to come back and get me but good. That's where they messed up. I spent the next three days cleaning up — and clearing out — my old home. A few relatives helped me load the sinks and heavy appliances into a moving truck and drive them to a warehouse, where I kept them in storage until I was able to install them in a new home later. I also left a very vulgar note taped to a wall for any of the scrappers who might return.

But despite the sense of satisfaction I felt at not being completely victimized by the vultures, I also felt deeply saddened. I'd tried to hold on to my house even after leaving the neighborhood — despite the economy, despite the falling property values, despite the fact that I had something bigger, newer — and I just couldn't. Worse, I knew I wasn't alone. I knew there were hundreds of thousands of Detroiters fighting the same fight, well-meaning people who were trying like hell to hold fast whatever stake they had in this town, but who were no longer willing to be inundated by ridiculous odds.

Detroit, like the Packard Plant, has fallen on hard times. But unlike Packard, we can recover. First, though, we're going to have to figure out a way to stop feeding on ourselves.

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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

+ 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.

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