CLOSE
Original image

A Visit to a Soviet-era Arcade

Original image

Connal Hughes and Anjel Van Slyke made their way to the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in Moscow, and documented their experience in great detail -- with photos and descriptions of every game (including some videos). The museum is located in a Stalin-era bomb shelter with a reinforced blast door, and is rarely open (the article says it's open two or three times a week, and not until 7:30pm). You pay $10 and are led into what is literally an underground game parlor, to witness amazing creations like this:

Here's what Hughes wrote about it:

We didn’t actually play this next game. It was really hard to figure out and seemed to somehow involving knowing and choosing correct traffic signs. After the fact we learned that “?????????” (viktorina) translates to “quiz” – in this case one involving traffic signs. Exactly what it looked like.

Many of the games are partially mechanical and partially electronic -- arcade games in the classic sense, though I didn't see any pinball machines. There are a few pure video games in the bunch (including a variant on Pong). But I enjoyed this baffling tank game apparently called Tankodrome (?????????). Hughes writes: "Either it wasn’t working right or we just couldn’t figure it out."

There's tons more to the story, and it's a well-written adventure. Check it out -- trust me, you'll enjoy this. You can also check out the museum's website (here's the English version). Don't miss the Flash version of "Sea Battle."

(Story via Waxy.org. Image used under Creative Commons license, from Flickr user Dangerous Business: Connal Hughes + Anjel Van Slyke.)

Original image
Volkswagen
arrow
technology
Volkswagen Introduces Electric Version of Classic Microbus
Original image
Volkswagen

Following the success of the compact Volkswagen Beetle, German automaker Volkswagen expanded its line in 1950 with the release of the Type 2. Customers preferred a less clinical name, opting to call it the camper, the bus, or the transporter. Able to tote mass quantities of counter-culture protesters, the Volkswagen bus became a symbol in antiwar movements of the 1960s before disappearing to the scrap heap of expired popular culture.

Recently, the company has doubled down on claims it would be revisiting it as a smaller vehicle. At a recent presentation at a Pebble Beach charity car expo, Volkswagen announced the bus—previously identified as the I.D. Buzz—would be returning in 2022 as a fully electric and consolidated version of the classic.

A look at the interior of the Volkswagen Microbus
Volkswagen

CEO Herbert Diess said that prototype versions of the vehicle on display at recent trade shows led to encouraging feedback that convinced the company to move forward. The I.D. Buzz is expected to have 369 horsepower, a considerable boost from the 25 of the original, and might implement self-driving elements. The concept car—which may or may not make it to roads with all of the same features—has a retractable wheel and movable seats when autonomy is engaged. The future of cars is looking more and more like a portable living room.

[h/t Inhabitat]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
This Smart Fridge Camera Will Warn You When Your Food Is Going Bad
Original image
iStock

Food waste costs us a whole lot, both in terms of money and environmental impact. The USDA estimates that American families could each save about $1500 a year if they just ate all the food they bought. Sure, you could eat ice cream made of food waste from your local farmers market, but a more effective solution would be to cut back on the amount of food you personally waste every week.

A smart fridge can help, and you don’t have to buy an entirely new appliance to get one, according to Inhabitat. Smarter’s FridgeCam turns any refrigerator into a smart appliance, and all for just $127. Smarter, a British company that also makes smart teakettles and coffeemakers that hook up to your phone, designed the wireless FridgeCam to fit into any fridge.

A product shot shows a circular white smart camera against a white background.
Smarter

Once installed, you can peer inside your fridge from your phone, no matter where you are. (Which saves energy, too.) You can set the app to ping you when it senses you’re near a convenience store or grocery store to remind you to pick something up, or you can set it to autopopulate an online shopping cart of necessities.

In addition to letting you see your food with your own eyes, the camera tracks expiration dates in order to remind you when it's time to buy more milk and what food needs to be eaten ASAP. The Smarter Chef feature even suggests recipes based on what you have at home, including the stuff that you’ll need to throw out if you don’t use it up soon.

It’s unclear exactly how the camera tracks expiration dates, since presumably it might be hard for a camera to see an expiration date listed on the bottom of a jar, for instance. You might have to scan or input them yourself. Either way, a single camera that costs less than $200 is a whole lot cheaper than buying a new fridge. A futuristic kitchen just became a whole lot more affordable.

The FridgeCam is available for pre-order here.

[h/t Inhabitat]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios