Every Friday night, about 10 regulars gather at my place in Perth, Australia, to play Texas Hold 'Em. I'm the co-founder of a technology-services company, L7 Solutions. I'm also a chronic tinkerer and a poker lover.Last fall I decided to up the ante, so to speak, and started planning a table that could generate a video display showing what cards each player has, how much they bet, and their chances of winning the hand. It makes our humble games look just like the tournaments you see on TV.
Of course, some of my mates were skeptical that it wouldn't come out looking cool, so I resolved to build something that would really wow them. I spent three months on the project, integrating radio-frequency-ID antennas and a central reader unit into a custom-built table to track the movement of tagged cards and chips. I also hooked up four video cameras and capture devices to record the action, and connected it all to my PC. Then I wrote software to generate graphics from the game data and lay it on top of a live video feed. It's streamed to a high-def big screen, so the defeated players can watch the rest of the game in my viewing room -- or, as I call it, the Losers' Lounge.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.