Fanmade Yu-Gi-Oh AR Game Makes Your Anime Dreams a REALITY

It’s time to d-d-d-d-d-d-d-duel!

Microsoft hololens ar game yu gi oh yugioh virtual reality

Coming in at the height of what we’ll call the "2000s Japanese Collectible Toy Tie-In Anime Boom", Yu-Gi-Oh! has taken its place as a proper nostalgia touchstone, emerging from other Pokemon-like pretenders as a compelling universe and a genuinely fun CCG along the way. One of the main innovations of the original anime series is the way that they made what SHOULD be a boring strategic card game into a television spectacle by the various systems they invented to project massive holographic versions of the monsters during the matches. Every gratuitous draw of Pot of Greed (which allows the player to draw two additional cards from their deck) was imbued with dramatic flair thanks to technological magic of the Duel Disk.

wrist mounted seto kaiba duel disk

While we haven’t quite reached that level of advancement in solid light constructs, the past few years HAVE been really good for people interested in Augmented Reality. While some companies were experimenting with simple cell-phone applications (like that option in Pokemon GO that everyone turns off), Microsoft has been slowly building hype for its HoloLens platform, which combines advanced spatial sensors and camera feedback to project 3D objects onto a clear visor, allowing the user to see "holographic" graphics interacting in the real world. 

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In a recent video published by fledgling AR game dev MicrowaveSam, a pair of early HoloLens adopters showcased their prototype fangame that brings us tantalyzingly close to the dream we all had as youngsters, glued to our TVs watching the latest 4Kids localized adventures of a reincarnated acient Pharoah and/or bishie motorcycle gang. They found a way to have a virtual game of Duel Monsters with honest to goodness projections of Kuriboh and Blue-Eyes White Dragon battling in 3D space.

blue eyes white dragon

Watch the video in action to see how the game uses hand gestures and speech commands (yes, you actually have to announce your attacks like in the show) to make what looks like a faithful (though admittedly VERY unofficial) adaptation of the classic card game in the virtual reality. If you like what you see, maybe consider taking a look at the MicrowaveSam Patreon page to support the creators’ efforts to make more AR games in the future.

Janky or joyous? For a small fanmade effort it’s kind of amazing to imagine a future where duelists may one day declare games in public, and strap on their bulky technology, and make real life just a little bit more cartoon-like.

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Future Fashion Statement? New Material Generates Power from Human Motion

Vanderbilt University researchers developed an ultra-thin system that can harvest energy from the slightest of human motions — even sitting. Made from materials five thousand times thinner than a human hair, the technology may someday be woven into clothing to power personal devices.

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The FDA Wants Cigarettes to Lose Most of Their Nicotine

On Friday, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced some new cigarette and vaping regulations that the agency will put into place over the next few months or years. One of the biggest: the addictive component of cigarettes will have to go away.

Nicotine is what keeps people coming back to cigarettes; Gottlieb calls it “astonishingly addictive.” But it’s the rest of the cigarette—the other components, and the smoke from setting it all on fire—that causes cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. If the nicotine were removed, or reduced to non-addictive or minimally addictive levels, the FDA is betting that far fewer people would end up smoking cigarettes and suffering the consequences.

Here’s how Gottlieb put it:

Looking at ways to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes so that they are minimally or non-addictive, while not altering the nicotine content of noncombustible products such as e-cigarettes, is a cornerstone of our new and more comprehensive approach to effective tobacco regulation. And Congress has made clear that FDA has this authority.

So, if this rule goes through (it will have to clear a lot of red tape and industry opposition), we could end up in a world where cigarettes contain tar but not nicotine. Meanwhile, vaping liquids contain nicotine but no tar, and the FDA seems inclined to keep it that way.

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A Microsoft Font Really Did Take Pakistan’s Prime Minister Down

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will resign his position immediately following a landmark decision by his country’s Supreme Court. Sharif has been under fire since last year, when leaked documents appeared to show his family had hidden wealth in shell companies overseas. Earlier this month, investigators revealed that crucial financial documents provided by the Sharifs used Microsoft’s Calibri font but were dated from before that font was publicly released.

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Back in April, the family of Pakistan’s scandal-plagued prime minister landed in the crosshairs of…

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The five-member Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Friday that Sharif was disqualified from holding a public position on the grounds that he’d been “dishonest to Parliament and to the judicial system” according to CNN. A spokesperson for Sharif’s PMLN party later read a statement that said, “Nawaz Sharif will step down as premier of Pakistan despite reservations regarding the verdict.” The prime minister’s cabinet will also be dissolved.

Sharif’s family’s finances first garnered scrutiny following the leak of 11.5 million documents known as the Panama Papers. The allegedly hacked documents identified many powerful people around the world and outlined how they concealed money through shell companies. Sharif was named in the leak and an investigation into the finances of several of his immediate family members followed.

The investigation concluded early this month and the final report identified several instances of alleged wrongdoing. But it was the use of Microsoft’s font on a document that was supposed to pre-date Calibri’s existence that served as a focal point, rallying the public to condemn Sharif. His daughter, Maryam Sharif tweeted an image of a disclosure document in November that was dated 2006. When investigators examined the form, they realized that it couldn’t be legitimate because Calibri was released to the public in 2007. Social media users began using #Fontgate as shorthand for all things related to the Sharif family’s corruption.

Among the findings, investigators said that Sharif’s children had not disclosed their ownership of three offshore companies that had made deals worth at least $25 million. They also claim that Sharif was the chairman of the board at a company called Capital FZE which is registered in the United Arab Emirates. These things wouldn’t necessarily be illegal in Pakistan, but the family is required to formally declare their involvement.

For Pakistan, this story is nothing new. No civilian prime minister has finished a full first-term in the nation’s 69-year history. This isn’t even Sharif’s first time being forced out of office. He was ousted by Pervez Musharraf in 1999 through a military coup and was imprisoned on charges of hijacking and corruption. A deal was brokered for his release six months later. After spending some time in exile, Sharif managed to get reelected in 2013. The supreme court’s decision on Friday should make it impossible for him to hold office again in the future, but who the hell knows. Musharraf danced on Sharif’s grave shortly after the decision, telling CNN, “It should have been finished much before but anyway, better late than never.”

At the time of the revelation that the font couldn’t have been used on Sharif’s daughter’s disclosure form, there was some dispute over the actual date of Calibri’s public availability. That doesn’t seem matter to much anymore.

[Bloomberg]

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Japan’s first private rocket launch is a partial success

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) hasn’t made a secret of their spaceflight ambitions; they aim to put humans on the moon before China. But private spaceflight is also reaching new heights (literally) in the country. On Sunday, Momo, a startup supported partially by crowdfunding, launched Japan’s first commercial space rocket from Hokkaido. The rocket was built by Interstellar Technologies Inc.

Unfortunately, the rocket failed to reach its target altitude of 100 km. Just over a minute into launch, the ground team lost communications with the rocket. This caused an early shutdown of the engine; estimates are that it only achieved an altitude of around 20 km.

If successful, this would have been the first private rocket launched in Japan developed by a Japanese company. The rocket is about 10 meters high, weighting around a ton. The cost of the launch was jut 50 million yen ($440,000). JAXA has led the country’s space efforts until now; their rocket launches cost somewhere between 200 million and 300 million yen ($1.8–$2.7 million).

The rocket’s partial failure is certainly a disappointment for Momo, but at this stage of development, any data is useful. Takafumi Horie, the Japanese entrepreneur behind Momo, said on his Facebook page, "We were able to get valuable data that could lead to success in the future." Momo’s goal is to successfully develop a rocket that can deliver a small satellite to low Earth orbit by 2020.

Source: Bloomberg Technology

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Another black eye for Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is trying to fix its battered reputation. The latest scandal won’t help.

The bank said late Thursday it is “extremely sorry” for charging as many as 570,000 customers for car insurance they didn’t need.

An internal review by Wells Fargo (WFC) found that about 20,000 of those customers may have defaulted on their car loans and had their vehicles repossessed in part because of these unnecessary insurance costs.

It’s the latest black eye for Wells Fargo, which is still trying to recover from the scandal that launched the bank into turmoil nearly a year ago — the creation of as many as 2 million unauthorized checking and credit card accounts.

The customers who were charged for car insurance had auto loans with Wells Fargo between 2012 and this year.

Wells Fargo auto loans require borrowers to have comprehensive and collision insurance for their cars. The contract also allows Wells Fargo to buy insurance on customers’ behalf if they fail to buy it themselves.

Evidently, Wells Fargo bought insurance for some customers — and charged them for it — even when they had their own. And some people may have lost their cars because of it.

The number of customers hurt by the new scandal may be even larger than the bank admitted. An internal report prepared by a consulting firm and obtained by The New York Times found that more than 800,000 customers were impacted, including 25,000 who had cars repossessed.

A person familiar with the matter said that internal report is five months old, and that Wells Fargo investigated further and found that fewer customers were affected.

Active-duty service members were also caught up in the insurance scandal. The person said fewer than 70 service members were affected. Wells Fargo was accused last year by the government of illegally repossessing 413 cars owned by service members without a court order.

Related: Elizabeth Warren begs Janet Yellen to go after Wells board

Wells Fargo promised to pay $64 million in cash refunds to customers, on top of $16 million in account adjustments. That works out to an average of just $140 for each of the 570,000 customers impacted. Wells Fargo plans to start sending refund checks and letters to customers in August.

Customers who had their cars wrongfully repossessed should expect to receive more money. Wells Fargo allotted $16 million for this group, which works out to an average refund of $800.

Wells Fargo said it will work with credit bureaus to correct errors in customers’ credit records caused by the insurance scandal.

Wells Fargo may have also failed to properly notify customers about the additional insurance charges in five states — Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee and Washington — that have tougher disclosure requirements. Those 60,000 customers will get about $39 million.

Wells Fargo blamed the problem on “inadequate” checks and balances at the bank, as well as flaws in the systems of the company that handled the insurance policies.

A person familiar with the matter identified that company as National General. In a statement, National General (NGHC) said it “feels confident with its compliance” and “provided all necessary notifications” in accordance with law and industry practice.

Wells Fargo said it suspended the insurance program in September 2016. It also said it has tightened oversight of its auto dealer services division.

“We take full responsibility for our failure,” Franklin Codel, Wells Fargo’s head of consumer lending, said in a statement.

Wall Street took notice of the latest Wells Fargo scandal. Wells Fargo’s stock dropped nearly 3% on Friday, the worst-performing bank in the S&P 500.

Wells Fargo could also be in for more scrutiny from regulators and Congress. The bank’s primary regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, declined to comment.

Related: Wells Fargo ordered to rehire whistleblower

After the fake-account scandal broke, Wells Fargo said it had fired 5,300 workers. The bank has repeatedly apologized, installed new corporate leadership, revamped sales goals and clawed back pay from senior execs.

State and federal authorities continue to investigate, including the Justice Department.

–Have you been impacted by the Wells Fargo auto insurance scandal? Contact Matt.Egan@cnn.com

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