D-Pad Hero 2, the sequel to last year’s homebrew music game for the NES, is now out and free to download! If you missed the original D-Pad Hero, the game is styled after Guitar Hero, with players tapping buttons as notes drop to the bottom of the screen, except it’s played with a traditional control pad instead of an instrument controller.
This follow-up promises 50 percent more tracks, three difficulty levels, new 3D-style visuals, song challenges, power-ups (e.g. POW blocks), multiple endings, and co-op/versus two-player modes. The new music includes Queen’s “I Want To Break Free”, Megadeth’s “Countdown to Extinction”, Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean”, Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love”, and many others.
You can play the D-Pad Hero 2′s ROM in the emulator of your choice (or on an NES if you have the right equipment), but the game’s developers highly suggest using an actual controller instead of your keyboard to play the game…
Greg Borenstein used an Arduino with an Ethernet Shield and a few relays to make this stoplight for the folks at GitHub. He writes:
A couple of months back, the guys at GitHub bought a stoplight. They ordered it on Ebay from a seller in the UK. Their plan was to hook it up to their build system.
The idea was that when they check code into their continuous integration system (see defunkt/CI Joe) the stoplight would turn yellow while the code was building, red if the build failed because of failing tests, and green if the build succeeded. It would give them a large unmissable indicator in their office for the status of their current code.
You can read his great write-up of the whole project here.
A university is offered funding, but only if they’ll name a building for William Shockley, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on the transistor, but was infamous for his support of eugenics. What do they do?
Join us for a dramatic reading of Transistor Shock, a new play by Ivan K. Schuller and Adam Smith, performed by Break A Leg Productions. William Shockley was an American physicist and inventor. Along with two colleagues, Shockley co-invented the transistor, for which all three were awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics. Shockley’s commercial enterprises helped create California’s “Silicon Valley.” In his later years, Shockley espoused eugenics — the practice of selective breeding applied to humans. Following the performance, the playwrights will hold a discussion with the audience.
Wednesday, May 26, 6:30 PM
Elebash Recital Hall
No reservations. First come, first seated
Our favorite part of Maker Faire was the steady stream of parents with their daughters who had built Adafruit kits, watched “Ask an Engineer” and/or just wanted to meet “Ladyada”. Here’s a photo from Jeff that captures it nicely
And on that note, a parent who watches “Ask an Engineer” with their kids each week said that their daughter asked the following question after seeing Ladyada and Amanda (w0z) on a few shows…
“Are there any guy engineers? Or are they all women?”
Researchers at the J Craig Venter Institute recently unveiled their first self-replicating synthetic bacteria (M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0) whose DNA was ‘programmed’ base pair by base pair. To verify that they had synthesized a new organism and not assembled the DNA from another natural bacteria, scientists encoded a series of ‘watermarks’ into the genes of M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0. There are four of these hidden messages: an explanation of the coding system used, a URL address for those who crack the code to go visit, a list of 46 authors and contributors, and a series of famous quotes. The presence of these watermarks verifies that M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 truly is synthetic and demonstrates the precision and power of JCVI’s new techniques in synthetic biology.
The DIY, or Do-It-Yourself, movement in science and technology is demonstrating that it can do inexpensively what large companies and even Big Science have spent millions doing. I call them “make-offs,” low-budget knock-offs of scientific and industrial technology built with off-the-shelf components.
It is a version of what China has been doing to America, benefiting from the R&D that goes into refining the specifications, developing prototypes and building a finished product. Only now, with new digital fabrication techniques and open source hardware and software, individuals and small companies are in a position to compete globally with a distinctly DIY approach to innovation. It’s a new independent source of creative work, similar to what indie films are to Hollywood films developed in-house. It’s open, collaborative and done on the cheap. And almost anyone can play, as you can see this weekend at the Fifth Annual Maker Faire Bay Area.
19 May 2010—Researchers led by John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have invented a cheaper way to build devices—including solar cells and infrared cameras—using highly efficient but notoriously pricey compound semiconductors. Their method, reported in the journal Nature, involves growing stacks of thin films of semiconductor, peeling off the films one by one, and printing them onto cheaper substrates, such as silicon or glass.
This is great news for solar junkies. Meanwhile, the DIY robotics crowd can look forward to IR cameras and other machine vision devices that are much more affordable.
On Saturday, Maker Faire will mark its fifth annual appearance at the San Mateo County Event Center in San Mateo, Calif., south of San Francisco.
The do-it-yourself festival will feature more than 600 exhibitors of all kinds of projects, from singing tesla coils to crafts to walking electric spiders and the Lifesize Mousetrap. Over the course of the weekend, about 80,000 people are expected to visit the event.
CNET News visited Maker Faire on Friday to see what the event is like before the tens of thousands of attendees show up, and to watch the makers setting up their goods.
1:00pm, Open source hardware panel – Innovation stage
7:00pm, “Ask an Engineer” LIVE – Center Stage
3:00pm, Open Source Hardware Businesses, MAKE magazine booth, Make: Projects Stage
Adafruit.com (store) will be shipping as usual – so order anytime! Support requests will be answered in a timely manner as well as forum support. We will be posting video, photos and more from the event – if you can’t make it to Maker Faire, we’ll do our best to share the fun!
Physicists at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have developed a quantum interface which connects light particles and atoms. The interface is based on an ultra-thin glass fiber and is suitable for the transmission of quantum information. This is an essential prerequisite for quantum communication which shall be used for secure data transmission via quantum cryptography.
“Quantum Cryptography” — coming soon to a post-doc trade school near you, and a pretty BA thing to have on your rêsümé.
This one gets a Spock point for being “fascinating”.
Dale Dougherty will be overseeing the annual Maker Faire in San Francisco this coming weekend. If you haven’t heard of this event, think about a typical fairground but with robots and giant mousetraps. Also, instead of traditional balloons that you tie to your wrist, some of the balloons at Maker Faire travel into space and take pictures of the earth.
In a recent blog post, Mr. Dougherty wrote about a growing group of “makers” who are creating new “DIY indie innovations.” This maker community is near and dear to my heart as I spent a lot of time tinkering with robotics and electronics last year — although most of my robots are collecting dust and still haven’t mastered world domination. Here is an edited version of my conversation with Mr. Dougherty.