There’s a fantastic episode of Pendleton Ward’s postapocalyptic candy land show Adventure Time in which Fin the last human and Jake, his magical dog companion, play a game called Card Wars which is like a futuristic version of Magic: The Gathering matched with the Holochess game in Star Wars.
I’ve always wished Magic was played like that — by placing real cards down on a sort of holographic desktop to see the creatures come alive and do battle right before my eyes — but it never occurred to me that my iPad could already do something like that. But here comes Nuko Cards to prove me wrong.
Nuko Cards isn’t like Magic: The Gathering, really, but it’s easy to see how the tech could be used in that capacity. What Nuko Cards are, essentially, are cards printed with a special capacitive ink that can be sensed by an iPad’s touchscreen as multitouch points. So when you press the card against the display, a Nuko game on the iPad can sense how many and how far apart the capacitive ink points are, and trigger an action in the app accordingly.
This is super clever, and apparently, the printing technique, which is called Touchcode, is not only compatible with existing inkjet printers, but this technology could be used for things like loyalty cards, coupons, even to detect counterfeit currency. But let’s get a bitching Magic: The Gathering type game out there first.