One night last february, Ben Allen and a group of electrical-engineering students at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands needed some help testing their 20-inch-long prototype of the classic 1980s Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) controller. The group was in the early stages of designing an absurdly enlarged version of the device—one as long and wide as a compact car—in an attempt to break the world controller-size record. In honor of the quest, they enticed some fellow geeks to join them at a campus pub by offering free Guinness.
Nintendo just announced their successor to the revolutionary Wii, to be called the Wii U, at this year's E3 conference in Los Angeles. We've only gotten snippets and tidbits of information, but we do know that the--as in the original Wii--the most important part of the Wii U will be the controller. This time, it's a giant, tablet-like, touchscreened beast that packs an accelerometer, camera, gyroscope, and a full array of Wii buttons.
You didn't think the enthusiasm for hacking the Kinect to make it do variously useful and silly things was going to end after two weeks, did you? It's just going to get better, so let's recap with two of the coolest new hacks. One makes you invisible, and one gives you the power of a certain mustachioed plumber.
Nintendo's Mario has long been beloved by geeks and scientists everywhere, as evidenced by a fluorescent bacterial version (seizure warning!) and a Mario "multiverse" that acts as a better guide to parallel universes than "Lost." Now a Carnegie Mellon University student has concocted a playable pixel tribute on an 8x8 LED matrix.
Nintendo's Mario has taught us science and even encouraged the development of better artificial intelligence. So it's only appropriate that Japanese researchers paid homage to everyone's favorite video game character, by recreating his likeness in a petri dish with genetically engineered glow-in-the-dark bacteria. Warning: we reveal a seizure-inducing Mario animation after the story jump.
Robots, alcohol and video games make one tantalizing combination to put on distant-future Christmas lists. Now geek boozers are in luck: the one-man Nonpolynomial Labs has developed interactive versions of Mario and Tetris that incorporate a robotic bartender to mix up drinks during real-time play.
You're unique. Aren't you? One of the more creative hypotheses surrounding quantum mechanics posits the exact opposite. Though we can readily see only one world, quantum mechanics says that when we're not observing the particles that make up that world, those particles exist in multiple places at once. There are many theories that attempt to grasp what this means, but one of the most tantalizing is Hugh Everett's multiverse concept.