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Hands-On with Nintendo Labo Cardboard Kits!

We go hands-on with the Nintendo Labo cardboard maker kits for the Switch console! Jeremy, Kishore, and Norm spend the day testing out the Variety and Robot kits, assembling a few of the accessories and playtesting their corresponding games. We share our impressions on Labo and our hopes for the platform.

Highlights from the 2018 Academy of Model Aeronautics Expo East!

Springtime is typically trade-show season in the RC industry. For many, these shows mark the end of the winter "building season" and the start of model flying, boating, and driving for the year. Until recently, I had never been to an RC trade show. So I was particularly excited to attend AMA Expo East during the last weekend of February. I was able to check out newly-released products, see what other modelers have been up to, and hear some fantastic speakers.

The AMA Expo

In this context, "AMA" stands for the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which is a nationwide, non-profit, community-based organization that promotes and advocates for all types of aeromodeling. The majority of active model flyers are already familiar with this group, since AMA membership is a prerequisite to joining most local flying clubs.

As the name suggests, AMA Expo East is a sister event to AMA Expo West, which took place in Ontario, California in early January. The eastern event that I attended was held inside the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. I was somewhat concerned that this location (just across the Hudson River from Midtown Manhattan) would be a hassle to get into and out of. It turned out to be a complete non-issue. The Exposition Center and adjoining hotel were easy to access and had plenty of free parking.

New Products

Numerous manufacturers had booths set up at the expo to show off their new (and legacy) products. These offerings ranged from custom pilot figures for RC models to emergency parachutes for your drone. There is a big difference between seeing a product in a magazine or online article and holding it in your hands. Many businesses were equipped to sell on-site and had special "expo pricing" to help seal the deal.

I was able to get my paws on the new Spektrum iX12 transmitter in the Horizon Hobby booth. This was good for me, not because I pine for the iX12, but because I have been skeptical of it since it was announced. You see, this radio has a quad-core processor and uses an Android operating system. It is basically a tablet and transmitter hybrid. While I appreciate new technology, I'm not convinced that an RC transmitter needs to be that complex.

Science in Progress: Of Oysters and Climate Change

Climate change has wide-reaching effects, from wildlife in their natural habitats to the foods you eat in your home. Kishore and Indre explore the ways oyster farmers and scientists are measuring ocean acidification, using custom-built water analyzers at places like Hog Island oyster farm to analyze the subtle and not-so subtle ways organisms are affected by higher-than-normal carbon dioxide conditions.

Custom Keyboard Spotlight: NovelKeys x Kailh Big Switches

Most of today's keyboard switches have standardized on a Cherry MX-style housing, even those that have different internal designs. That's just easier when it comes to designing keyboards. However, the NovelKeys x Kailh Big Switches are not intended to be used in a keyboard. These are custom keyboard switches that have been scaled up by four times. Not only do they look awesome on your desk, they're a great way to learn about how switches work inside.

The Big Switches.

When I say these are scaled up switches, that's exactly what I mean—the Big Switches are not models of Kailh's regular small switches. These are completely functional switches that are just really, really big. If you hand-wired them up to a controller, you could use them like a regular switch. In fact, Razer used the NovelKeys x Kailh Big Switches at CES to build a giant novelty gaming keyboard.

As the name implies, the Big Switches are a collaboration between retailer NovelKeys and switch maker Kailh. They come in three versions, all of which are loosely based on the customized regular switches produced for NovelKeys by Kailh. There are pale blue, burnt orange, and dark yellow versions.

The dark yellow switch is linear, so there's no tactile bump or click. The burnt orange is tactile, so there's a bump as you press it down. The pale blue is clicky, so there's a loud double click as you press and release. The cool thing is you can open the housings of these switches like you would a smaller switch. It's a little tricky because the plastic is thicker and thus you need more force to undo the clips.

PROJECTIONS, Episode 40: Brass Tactics Review

Norm and Jeremy review Brass Tactics, a real-time strategy game made specifically for virtual reality. What can VR add to the RTS genre? Plus, we talk about the physics of ping pong in VR with Eleven: Table Tennis!