Latest Stories
Bits to Atoms: Thermal Detonator, Part 1

For Sean and Jeremy's second project. they tackle a beloved hand prop from the Star Wars universe--the Thermal Detonator that appears in Return of the Jedi! Ambitions for this build are high, so the Bits to Atoms team brings in help from the rest of the Tested family, including Kishore, Frank, and Adam!

PROJECTIONS, Episode 4: Full Body Tracking in VR

We demo Cloud Gate Studio's custom full-body tracking system using the HTC Vive tracker accessories. With our hips and feet put into the game, the developers are able to create a convincing full-body avatar and enable new interactions like kicking virtual dinosaurs! Plus, a discussion on the concept of presence and why we're obsessed with Rec Room.

Google Play App Roundup: GrammarPal, Cosmic Express, and Too Many Dangers

A new week has dawned, and with it comes a new list of great things happening on Android. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what needs to be on your phone or tablet right now. Just click the links to head to Google Play and grab these apps for yourself.

GrammarPal

In the age of the internet, grammar has taken a backseat to memes and emoji. Let's bring it back. GrammarPal can help. This app scans the text you write on your device, looking for more than simple misspellings. It offers corrections to your grammar in a handy popup window. I could point out the irony of a grammar app having a CammelCase name, but let's just move one.

You have to go through a few steps to set up and use GrammarPal, but it does a good job of walking you through the process. When enabled, GrammarPal shows up as a floating button next to your text input field. You can safely ignore it if you're just typing a few words that don't need to be checked, though it's bright green and there's no option for transparency. It kind of sticks out. At least you can move it around, and GrammarPal will remember that position for each app.

After you type something out, tap the GrammarPal button and it'll scan your text. It does spell checking, but your phone probably does that too. The value here is that it uses the context of your sentences to figure out if you made any typos that are technically correctly spelled words. For example, using "to" when you meant "too." The GrammarPal icon will indicate the number of detected problems after scanning. Tap it again to open the editing panel at the bottom of the screen.

The expanded GrammarPal interface shows you the text with color coded highlights for the various issues. Misspellings are red, style issues are blue, and all others are yellow. Tap on any of the highlights to get a suggestion of what to change. The buttons at the top allow you to copy the new text or automatically replace the old text. You can also just close this panel without changing anything. Unrecognized words can be added to the GrammarPal dictionary too.

I've found GrammarPal's corrections to be right most of the time, and it does catch things that normal spell checking misses. It could be useful, depending on how concerned you are with using proper grammar in text messages and Facebook posts. The app is free and has no ads. There's a $1.99 in-app purchase that adds a few new features like dictionary backups and layout customization.

Bela Meriwether, The Future of SFX Makeup - Episode 62 -3/17/17
Frank and I are continuing to celebrate International Women's Month on CreatureGeek by showcasing the women of SFX/Makeup during the month of March. Now, you may not recognize today's guest from any current movies, but keep watching - because Frank and I have our money on our young guest becoming a makeup pro. 10 year old Bela Meriwether has has the great fortune of learning directly from the master himself, Mr. Rick Baker (who she affectionately refers to as "Mr. Rick") and knows more about older movies than some adults do. She's like an old soul in a young body. Listen in! She's awesome! If you're digging this podcast, please head over to http://www.patreon.com/creaturegeek and support us with a few bucks. Thanks for listening! And be sure to listen to how to get a new pack of CreatureGeek stickers!
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Martin Müller Designs RC Vehicles that Fly at Appropriately Scaled Speeds

I'm sure we've all had the experience of watching a huge airliner fly overhead at what appears to be an impossibly slow speed. Most of these jets have to be moving at least 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) just to get off the ground. Although we certainly realize that they are actually flying quite swiftly, that knowledge doesn't jibe with the tortoise-like pace that our eyes are seeing.

Martin Müller's Airbus A310 model is able to fly at super-slow scale airspeeds thanks in part to its helium-filled fuselage.

We can recreate flying replicas of airplanes in just about any imaginable size and level of detail. Yet, that illusion of speed (or lack thereof) almost never translates well. Most RC models appear to be flying much faster than their full-scale brothers. Martin Müller decided to address that disconnect.

Martin's idea was to create a scale model of an Airbus A310 airliner that would fly at scale speeds. This meant that his 2-meter-span (79 in) Airbus (approximately 1/22-scale) would have a takeoff speed of about 3 meters per second (6.7 mph). Martin knew that creating a model capable of flying at such slow speeds would require an extreme emphasis on shedding weight and more than a little bit of clever thinking.

Müller is no stranger to innovation in the RC world. Around 2003, he developed the Ikarus Shock Flyer, a series of highly aerobatic models made of simple sheet foam with carbon fiber bracing. While the Shock Flyers were meant for indoor aerobatic competitions, they unintentionally spawned a whole new genre of RC models: profile foamies. These types of models can be dreamt, designed, and built in a matter of a few hours. More-traditional balsa designs often require weeks or months to get off the ground. Martin also designed several molded-foam models for Multiplex, including the Park Master, Gemini, and uber-popular Fun Cub.