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PROJECTIONS, Episode 42: Oculus Go Hands-On, Budget Cuts Impressions!

We go in-depth with the Oculus Go $200 standalone virtual reality headset at this year's Game Developers Conference! After playing a few games with it, including the cross-platform Settlers of Catan, we share our impressions and some insights from chatting with Oculus developers. Plus, we get some play time with one of our most anticipated VR games, Budget Cuts!

Science in Progress: Seals and Drones

Wildlife conservancy is a science benefiting from the new tech and tools of today. Join Indre as she travels to Ano Nuevo State Park to explore the research tools scientists are using to study elephant seals in the wild.

Adam Savage's One Day Builds: Custom Workbench LED Lamp!

While working on a recent prop project, Adam realizes that he needed better lighting for his workshop bench, and embarks on building a custom light rig for illuminating his builds. Using off-the-shelf parts like an affordable LED light panel, Adam wires up this versatile bench lamp that can be positioned precisely where he needs it!

Visiting the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum

As a lifelong history buff and aviation nerd, I am always seeking out aerospace-themed museums when I travel. That's why the collection of rare aircraft at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum was like a homing beacon for me. I simply had to go. I soon discovered that the museum, much like the man it honors, is quite eclectic and diverse. Of course, I found the airplanes I was after. I also found all types of wheeled vehicles, watercraft, and other odds and ends that are attributable to the late Mr. Curtiss and the Finger Lakes region of New York.

The museum is located in Curtiss' birthplace of Hammondsport, New York, a small lakeside town that often hosts tourists visiting the area's many vineyards and wineries. You half expect a small-town museum dedicated to one of its native sons to occupy a back room of the chamber of commerce. Not so here. The Curtiss Museum is housed in its own 57,000 square foot building. The expansive collection almost seems out of place in a town of less than 1000 residents. "We're the best kept secret in New York." joked curator Rick Leisenring. The good news here is that wine and old airplanes pair together well. The museum hosts about 30,000 visitors each year.

Who is Glenn H. Curtiss?

The appeal of the Curtiss Museum may not be obvious unless you know a little about the man who inspired it. It is difficult to describe Glenn Curtiss with brevity. The term "Daredevil Genius" comes to mind, but it still does not adequately capture the breadth of Curtiss' adventures and achievements.

I walked into the museum with only a rudimentary knowledge of Curtiss. I would learn much more over the next few hours. Curtiss is known primarily for his accomplishments as a pioneering aviator and the massive legal scuffles he endured opposite the Wright brothers. Yet, even before he found fame in the the sky, Curtiss was known as "the fastest man in the world"…a title he earned atop a motorcycle of his own design.

Show and Tell: Laser-Cut Memory Sphere Display

Sean experiments with designing for laser cutting in this prop replica project inspired by Blade Runner 2049. Using our Universal Systems laser cutter, he makes a futuristic-looking display stand for the memory spheres that appear in the film. We talk through his design process and assemble this neat light-up stand. Find the memory orb replica here.

Model Behavior: Atmospheric Diving Suit Garage Kit!

Modelmaker Kayte Sabicer joins the Tested team to teach us some of the modelmaking skills she's used for making filming miniatures. Our first project is a garage kit of a turn-of-the-century diving suit--a perfect chance to paint up resin to look like aged metal! (Find this model kit here!)

Custom Keyboard Spotlight: Cherry MX Vintage Black Switches

Most of the fancy switches you see people putting on their custom boards are shiny and new, but some of the most sought-after switches are older than the people typing on them. Because the tooling and manufacturing processes for switches have changed over the years, older batches of switches can have noticeably different properties. That's the case with the popular Cherry MX Black. Finding a batch of so-called Cherry Vintage Blacks is like hitting the custom keyboard jackpot.

The MX Black is one of Cherry's oldest switch designs, introduced back in 1984. It's a medium-weight stiff switch that falls in the linear category. That means there's no click or tactile bump as you press the key. MX Blacks were popular in industrial equipment, mainframe terminals, point-of-sale machines, and scientific instruments. The MX Black actuates at 60 grams of force and bottoms out around 80 grams. That's substantially heavier than the more well-known MX Blue (about 50g and 60g).

Cherry has been producing MX Black switches continuously over the years—you can still get brand new boards with fresh batches of Black switches. However, enthusiasts who have tracked Cherry's manufacturing report the company made some tooling changes around 1994 or 1995, and MX Blacks haven't felt the same since. The newer switches have the same force ratings, but they just aren't as good.

A Vintage Black is smoother and has less wobble. Some may disagree on that, but I think the difference is pretty noticeable when you've used a Vintage Black. You can see a comparison of vintage and newer MX Black stems below. It's hard to spot the differences in images, but the vintage stem is smooth, whereas the newer one has a slightly rough texture. The stem is what moves up and down in the housing to hit the metal contacts. If your stem is not smooth, the switch feels "gritty."

PROJECTIONS, Episode 41: Rec Room Quests and Zero Latency

We've gushed about Rec Room for a while now, and devote this week's episode to discussing why it's such a great introduction to virtual reality and how its multiplayer quests have real depth. Rec Room's latest quest--Island of the Lost Skulls--is one of the best VR experiences we've had yet. Plus, Norm talks about playing the Zero Latency location-based room-scale VR game.

Science in Progress: CRISPR Gene Editing

Kishore and Indre investigate the intriguing world of CRISPR, a new gene editing technology that is shaking up the worlds of science and medicine. They experiment with a D-I-Y kit to explore how CRISPR works, and visit Berkeley's Innovative Genomics Institute to learn more.