Latest Stories
Features Not Standard: Turning a Truck into a Treehouse!

For the first Tested team camping trip, Sean dreams up the idea of converting the Honda Ridgeline into a mobile treehouse. With some design help from Adam, Sean builds a versatile campout toolbox and makes modifications to the truck to support an elevated rooftop tent. Plus, Sean couldn't help but add some high-tech creature comforts! #HondaRidgeline #featuresnotstandard #sponsored

Announcing Tested: The Show 2016!

Hey everyone! We're excited to announce that we are going to have another live show this year as part of the Bay Area Science Festival--our third year in a row! As with previous years, our stage show will be an evening of talks, presentations, and demonstrations from members of the Tested team and our friends in the science and maker community. A lot has changed with Tested since last year, and the theme of this year's show is a reflection of that. We're calling it Journeys--a celebration of the travels, adventures, and evolutions we've gone through since we saw you last. From our travels to the High Arctic to explorations of virtual realms, we're going share how we've used a mix of technology and science to experience the world through unique perspectives. Plus, we'll also be recording a special episode of Still Untitled with Adam and Will.

Photo credit: Dallis Willard

Our live show is also an opportunity for us to meet you, the members of the community who've supported us throughout the years. It's a chance for you to meet and hang out with the Tested family like Frank, Sean, and Jeremy, and get up close to some of the projects we've been working on.

Tickets are on sale now, and you can find them, along with some more info, here! Hope to see you there!

Hands-On with Looking Glass Volume, a True Volumetric 3D Display!

We get up close with Volume, a true volumetric display that can be used for creating 3D content, viewing depth-enhanced videos, and playing holographic games. Its inventors stop by our office to explain how the display works and how they hope volumetric imaging can change how we interact with computer graphics and imagery.

Hands-On with DJI Mavic Foldable Quadcopter Drone!

We go hands-on with the DJI Mavic, a foldable drone that's half the size and weight of the Phantom 4 quadcopter. We take it for a test flight, check out its 4K video quality, and chat with DJI about its unique features, including a new computer vision tracking system and wi-fi transmitter control. Here's our hopes and fears for this new category of compact quads.

Tested in the High Arctic, Day 12

Nearing the end of our trip, we were given access to the lower decks and working areas of the ship. Today, the chief engineer of the Kaptian Khlebnikov gives us a tour of the engineering and engine rooms, showing us how the 24,000 horsepower icebreaker is powered. It's incredible!

How To Make A Custom Drone Landing Pad

Many of the sites I use for multi-rotor flying have very rough ground. This sometimes makes it tough to find a suitable spot for launching and landing. Even if I do uncover a patch of level ground, I'm sure to kick up a cloud of dusty West Texas topsoil as soon as the props start spinning. After years of improvising with cardboard boxes, beach towels, or whatever else I happened to have on hand, I finally decided to build a proper landing pad.

My Requirements

I looked for commercial options before deciding to build my own pad. There are numerous landing pads on the market, but none seem to fit my needs. First of all, most of them are smaller than I wanted. If I used a circular pad of just 16" (406mm) or 20" (508mm) diameter I would still create dust storms when I flew my larger ships. It also seems that most of the commercial offerings are not rigid. This would not help me deal with rough, uneven ground.

Once I had decided to build my own landing pad, I considered what material options I had available. I didn't really want to use any type of wood because I felt that the pad should be totally weatherproof. The solution presented itself during a recent trip to my local Tractor Supply Company store. One of the sale items stacked out front was a .5" (13mm)-thick rubber mat measuring 4' (1219mm) by 3' (914mm). I didn't want a pad quite that big, but I figured I could cut it down to the size I needed. For only $20, it was worth a shot.

The raw 4' x 3' rubber mat was larger than I needed and weighed almost 40 pounds. I cut it into three smaller sections using a utility knife.

When I picked up the mat, I wasn't quite ready for its nearly 40-pound weight. This is a substantial piece of recycled rubber! I just hoped that it wouldn't be too heavy to handle once I had cut it to size. Once I got the mat home, I decided that I could make three separate landing pads with it. I made one larger pad measuring 3' (914mm) by 2' (610mm), and two 2' (610mm) by 1.5' (457mm) pads. The large pad would be useful for my 350mm-class and larger multi-rotors at particularly rough sites. The small pads were intended for my racing quads, or even the larger ships when I fly from relatively smooth areas.

I made the two cuts using a regular utility knife. It took numerous swipes of the blade to cut all the way through the thick rubber, but it was not difficult to do. If you're a minimalist, you could actually be done with the project at this point. Turning a big mat into little mats is not very challenging or time consuming. I decided, however, that I wanted to personalize my new landing pads.

Tested in the High Arctic, Day 11

A brief update today as we reach our second northern-most point of our trip. Norm and Joey go for a hike in Tanquary Bay, surrounded by snow and sweeping mountains. After the hike, we make it back to the ship for a barbeque on the flight bridge!

Features Not Standard: Adam Savage's Portable Movie Theater

This summer, Adam Savage took the Tested team on a campout of a lifetime. To prepare for the trip, Adam and the team each took a Honda Ridgeline and modified the truck in unique builds to fulfill personal camping dreams. Adam's project: converting the truck into a mobile movie theater that packs up for travel and deploys on-site at the campground. Welcome to the Tested off-road screening room! #HondaRidgeline #featuresnotstandard #sponsored

How Google's Pixel Phones Can Succeed Where Nexus Failed

For nearly seven years, Google's Nexus program has been the showcase for Android in its purest form. There was some concern after the Nexus One flopped that Google wouldn't do another one, but every year since we've had at least one Nexus device—except this year. All signs point to the end of Nexus and the expansion of the Pixel brand. This is Google's chance to take what was great about the Nexus line and shake things up to push Android as a whole forward in new ways. Here's how that might go down.

Dual Pixels

Google seems set to launch two phones on October 4th, the Pixel and Pixel XL. Both will be manufactured by HTC, but there won't be the usual OEM branding as there always was on Nexus phones. The party line this time around is "Designed by Google." The Nexus program was about making Android look good, but Pixel is about Google.

Even by the most optimistic measurements, Nexus phones have been a niche product at best. Google has essentially been subsidizing the Nexus program to promote Android. Android has grown up now, so it doesn't need that kind of coddling. With the Pixel re-branding, Google may be looking to actually compete with OEMs. This is something Android enthusiasts have been hoping for all along. No more compromises, no more "good for the price" Nexus devices. These could be viable flagship-level devices.