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Google Play App Roundup: Split-screen Creator, Data Wing, and Run-A-Whale

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.

Split-screen Creator

Android 7.0 added support for split-screen apps, and it's relatively quick to get two apps up on the screen as long as you've had both of them open recently. If not, you have to launch them, and then go into split-screen mode. It can be a bit of a pain, but Split-screen Creator is here to help. This app lets you make shortcuts to instantly launch two apps in split-screen mode, even if they aren't running.

Split-screen Creator itself has very little interface. There's just a single page of settings and a page for settings up shortcuts. The app uses Android's widget system and accessibility controls to make its split-screen magic happen. As long as you enable accessibility from the app's settings, everything should work fine. It almost goes without saying, but you need to be running Android 7.0 or higher for Split-screen Creator to function.

To create a new split-screen shortcut, simply open your home screen widget menu and add Split-screen Creator's 1x1 widget. The settings page will appear, asking you to choose which apps you want the shortcut to launch. You can choose any installed app you want, but remember that not all of them work in split-screen mode. Additionally, Split-screen Creator warns that certain apps like Chrome and the Play Store don't like being launched in split-screen via the shortcut. However, I've tried both and they seem to work fine. The last step in setting up a shortcut it to pick a name.

When you tap on the shortcut, it will launch your chosen apps in split-screen mode. Sometimes you might need to reverse the order to ensure they open correctly, but I've seen very few issues in my testing. Be default, Split-screen Creator generates an icon composed of the two apps you've chosen. However, you can pick a custom icon via icon packs. That's a premium feature, though. It only costs $0.99 to unlock the full version, but there's not much else to it. There aren't any ads in the app, so you're mostly paying to support the developer of an app you (presumably) like.

PROJECTIONS, Episode 23: Inside-Out Tracking with Single Camera

One of the next frontiers for virtual and augmented reality headsets is inside-out positional tracking, a problem that's yet to be fully solved. We visit the offices of Occipital--makers of the Structure Sensor--to get a demo of their inside-out tracking system that can work with a single camera, and chat with Occipital's CEO about their approach to this computer vision challenge.

Let's Build: Star Trek Enterprise Model Kit

We manage to dig up a rare Bandai Star Trek Enterprise kit that was released over 15 years ago! Jeremy, Kishore, and Norm assemble this 1/850 scale model that comes complete with painted parts and even beautiful lighting electronics!

Adam Savage's One Day Builds: Foam Excalibur Sword!

Let's flash back to a build that was part of Adam's preparation for this year's Comic-Con! For his King Arthur armor cosplay, Adam needed a foam sword that would be suitable for the convention floor. He turned to the LARP community to find a prop, and today's build is making that sword look better with different techniques for metallic finishing. To the airbrush!

Pressure Casting a Glow-in-the-Dark Slimer Model

Frank walks us through the casting of a special kit: a slimer by legendary effects artist Steve Johnson, the sculptor of the original slimer from Ghostbusters! We learn how Frank mixes up resin to make these glow in the dark and utilizes a pressure pot to eliminte air bubbles. These kits will be available at the Son of Monsterpalooza convention later this month!

My Key to Organizing Small Allen Wrenches

If you're like me, you have an unorganized bin of loose Allen wrenches in your workshop. SAE and metric sizes coexist is this microcosm without discrimination or prejudice. Maybe you call these tools hex keys. Whatever the case, they are a blessing and a curse. In larger sizes (bigger than 3/16" or 4.5mm), they are cheap, convenient, and robust tools. The smaller Allen wrenches, however, present several problems for me.

First of all, the wrenches and the heads of the fasteners that they drive tend to strip easily. This is exaggerated by the fact that there are many different sizes which are indiscernible by eye. Selecting the correct wrench for an application can be challenging. Oh, did I mention that these wrenches are not even marked with their size?

Despite their challenges, small Allen wrenches are a fact of life in the RC world. They are used in many, many applications across the RC spectrum. In fact, most of the smaller hex keys in my bin were included with RC products. Many of the larger tools can be traced to Ikea.

Small Allen wrenches can be frustrating to use. So I came up with a simple system to manage these tools.

I have a somewhat masochistic MO when I need to find a small Allen wrench. I reach into that disheveled bin and pull out a handful of tools that look to be about the right size. Then I go through the frustrating exercise of test fitting each wrench in the fastener until I find a good fit. If I'm lucky, I'll score a good wrench within the first five tries.

After years of this inefficient approach, I finally decided to end the madness. I set out to find a simple means of organizing my small Allen wrenches. I decided that my system would have to be easy to understand, easy to implement, and easy to maintain.

Announcing the 2017 Tested Premium Community Gift!

Adam and Norm reveal this year's gift for Tested premium members! Members who joined or renewed since May 31st will get an exclusive 7" vinyl record of the Brain Candy song that Adam sang and recorded live at Third Man Records. This single will not be available for sale anywhere, and is our way of saying thanks to the Tested community for supporting us and watching our videos. Learn more about the benefits of a membership here! (If you are eligible for this promotion, please make sure you completely fill out your shipping address in your Tested profile as soon as possible to guarantee delivery. If you’ve already added your shipping address to your profile in the past, please double check its accuracy.)