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FaceRig promises 'instant digital cosplay' for the masses

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Facerig Fancy video chatting or recording a digital movie using an avatar of your fursona which mimics your facial expressions, powered by an ordinary webcam and a large-latte-priced software licence? Internet startup FaceRig aims to provide such a service; and ultimately affordable, studio-quality, immersive virtual reality.

The full version of what FaceRig describes as a Digital Alter-Ego Framework might be a long way off, but the initial webchat application is currently in development and seeking backers on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Almost $200,000 has been raised to date, with 33 days to go.

Licences for home and commercial use will be available, with prices starting at $5 during the crowdfunding phase and a predicted eventual cost of less than $15 for home users. More heavyweight versions of the software will incur a greater cost. There are also plans for mobile versions on iOS and Android.

Video: 'A dragon is coming!'

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Some have called it "a beast that easily outruns the competition". It's smart, it's cute, it can fry two fish at once, and it's coming this summer – to your phone! [tip: diadexxus; best in HD]

The Snapdragon is an popular mobile system-on-chip designed for the ARM architecture. Many cell phones use one, including U.S. variants of the heavily-hyped Samsung Galaxy S4.

Related video: Even trolls need a break - See also: The 'making of' video

Tailly continues to wag on Indiegogo

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TailyFollowing an unsuccessful campaign on Kickstarter (covered last month), Shota Ishiwatari has moved fundraising for Tailly, 'the tail that wags when you get excited', over to Indiegogo.

Tailly responds to the wearer's heartbeat, wagging fast when a raised heartbeat indicates high emotion and slowing with the pulse to a swing.

This time, the target amount is $50,000 – just over half the Kickstarter goal of £60,000 – which needs to be raised by March 7th, 2013 if the project is to be funded.

Necomimi creator seeks funding for wearable waggy tail

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Shota Ishiwatari, who worked on prototypes of the necomimi brainwave-activated cat ears for Neurowear, has turned to Kickstarter to fund a new, independent project, Tailly.

Attached to a belt, Tailly responds to the wearer's heartbeat to produce a wagging motion when a raised heart rate indicates excitement, slowing to a swing as the heartbeat drops. The tail comes with a white furry cover as standard; black, brown and grey are available.

Update (29 Jan): The campaign failed, but it's been restarted on Indiegogo.

Inkbunny deploys community keyword suggestion system

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Furry art community Inkbunny has deployed a means for users to suggest and approve keywords. The long-anticipated feature was rolled out after several days of testing, leading to the addition of keyword history.

The feature had been requested by users wishing to improve the site experience for others, as keywords are used heavily by Inkbunny's search and blocking features:

While Inkbunny remains one of the most comprehensively tagged/keyworded archives among all the furry art sites, we believe this new feature will make immense improvements both to finding submissions by keywords you want to see, and blocking submissions with keywords you want to avoid.

'Necomimi' cat ears now for sale

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As reported a year ago, "mind-controlled" cat ears are finally on the market. [CalistaF]

It's unclear whether the technology relies on brainwave analysis or muscular nerve inputs, and the promotional video shows movement to be limited. Still, they seem to be in demand.

Video: Twilight and Croc O'Dile sell flash storage solutions

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Few "furry" ads past muster with the fandom, but furs might make an exception for this one, featuring actual fursuiters Croc O'Dile and Twilight – and a monkey. [Spottacus]

Update: Croc O'Dile details the shooting experience

Japanese company developing brainwave-controlled cat ears

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Neurowear is developing a pair of cat ears which respond to the brain activity of their wearer.

Called "necomimi", the ears are mounted on a headband containing sensors, which pick up brain activity and move the ears accordingly. As the wearer concentrates, the ears point upwards, and when they relax the ears flop down and forwards.

Google provides playable Pac-Man

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Google Pac-Man

Arcade fans may enjoy Google's latest doodle.

Insert a coin or wait ten seconds, and you'll be rewarded with something better: a working version of Pac-Man, honouring the game's 30th anniversary. Did you find the Easter egg?

Web host failure takes down several furry sites

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Web hosting vendor Topclasshost has suffered a disk failure, taking down fursuit.co.uk, furmeets.co.uk, Sythyry's Journal (lately mentioned) and various other sites.

It's suggested that Topclasshost might not have backups for this server, leaving everyone who didn't have files saved elsewhere out of luck.

Furcadia runs fundraiser sale for new servers

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Furcadia's hardware

Furcadia's owners plan upgrades, and are selling discounted DragonScales (store credit) to fund the new hardware.

Dragon's Eye may not get many takers for the US$500 600-scale offer (including a "Furcadia-For-Life" tag), but smaller lots are available.

Those who liked the Floofs or Fluffs from earlier this month can also purchase them as temporary avatars for $4.99.

While the sale itself isn't that unusual, the announcement gives details of Furcadia's server hardware and connections.

Elysian Tail game wins $40,000 prize in XNA Dream-Build-Play competition

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Anthropomorphic animator-programmer Dean Dodrill (Noogy) has won the $40,000 grand prize in the Microsoft XNA Dream-Build-Play competition with his side-scrolling action game Dust: An Elysian Tail.[1] Dust draws on Dean's work towards an animated film in the Elysian Tail universe, though it features different characters, and has been compared to Odin Sphere and Muramasa. In the game, the lead character Dust must save a village from oppression with the help of an ancient sword, accompanied by miniature flying fox sidekick Fidget.

Dean was an Epic Games artist who left the company when Jazz Jackrabbit 3 was canceled in 2000, and only began object-oriented programming at the start of this year.[2][3][4] He became popular within furry fandom for characters such as Bonnie, an anthropomorphic mouse.

While the award does not guarantee a traditional publishing contract, Dust is now likely to become an Xbox Live Arcade game sold on the Xbox Live Marketplace, Microsoft's digital-distribution service.[5] The game is on display this weekend in the Microsoft Indie Games booth at PAX, a popular gamer festival held in Seattle, Washington.[4]

Play videogames with your pet!

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If you've ever wanted to match wits with your pet hamster, Mice Arena could be the game for you.

As in a traditional video game, players navigate a virtual world in a bid to stay alive. The twist? Computerized movements in Mice Arena are mapped to and from the real world, where an actual predator (your hamster) gives chase to a digital avatar (you) by pursuing a real piece of bait.

"We want to enable pets to play games in a way very similar to the way human players' play," said RASTER's Vladimir Todoroviæ, a collaborator working on the Metazoa Ludens project. "To play a computer game with your hamster would definitely make us think about where we have come with digital tradition now."

Read the whole WIRED article here

Furry Convention iCal Calendar

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This will be mainly of interest to OS X fans and convention orgnanizers. I took a quick look around the net, and I didn't see any published iCal calendars of Furry convention dates and locations. So I made one...

FurSuiters/Cosplayers needed for Linucon (Texas Sci/Fi convention)

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Linucon, the combination Sci/Fi Linux Expo debuting Oct. 8-10th in Austin Texas is looking for Fursuiters and Cosplayers! Read more for details, as Bookworm needs fellow fursuiters for panels and general masquading!