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    Meet the Carbon M1 Super Fast 3D Printer

    Watch this complex object get 3D printed in less than 15 minutes. Sean and Norm visit Carbon, the makers of the M1 3D printer, to get a demo of this new super fast 3D printing technology working in real-time. We chat with Carbon's VP of Product, Kirk Phelps, to learn how the CLIP 3D printing tech works, and why it's more than just about really fast prints.

    Google Play App Roundup: Slash Keyboard, Bushido Bear, and Leap Day

    Your Android phone is capable of a lot of cool things, but it's the apps that make that possible. Developers have access to all sorts of hooks in the system to make your phone do amazing things, you just have to find the right stuff. That's what the weekly Google Play App Roundup is all about -- helping you find the right apps. Just click on the app name to head right to the Play Store and pick it up yourself.

    Slash Keyboard

    You might have caught the news last week that Google released a keyboard app for iOS called Gboard. Its claim to fame is that it has Google search built right in. You can grab results and paste them in without leaving the app. That's not available on Android yet (weirdly), but there's actually an app that came out a few weeks back called Slash keyboard that has similar features. It's pretty relevant now, though.

    They call it Slash Keyboard because you trigger all its special search features by adding a slash to whatever you're typing. It works in any app too. For example, you're typing a message and making plans to meet up. You want to send them the location of some bar or restaurant, but switching apps is a pain. Just type /maps and enter your search term. The results appear in a scrollable bar right above the keyboard. When you tap a result, it will be pasted into the text field.

    That's just one possible use case. This keyboard app supports more than 20 services including Google search, Twitter, Giphy, Spotify, YouTube, and more. There's also a cool /pin command that instantly shares your current location. The keyboard will start suggesting slashes as soon as you enter one, but there's also a quick access bar at the top of the keyboard that starts your favorite slashes instantly. You can change the order or disable the bar entirely.

    Slash also includes custom slashes, which are basically shortcodes you can input to automatically expand into your chosen text. You might make one for your address or other contact info you don't want to type all the time.

    As for its performance as an actual keyboard, Slash does well. I wouldn't say it's my favorite keyboard, mostly because it lacks swipe input, which I use often. The theme does fit with Android, and you might not even notice at first it's not the stock keyboard. My only real UI complaint is that Slash takes up a lot of vertical space when you're performing searches. I don't know that there's really a way to solve that, though.

    Slash Keyboard is free and worth a look if you like the idea of Gboard.

    Introduction to 3D Modeling for Prop and Costume Making

    Through a weird and winding job path, I landed a pretty compelling career as a prop and costume maker, but I that's not where I intended to go when I started. When I was a starry eyed youth, I had ambitions of being a professional 3D modeler and animator for movies and video games! I even went to school for, and got a degree in, 3D computer art, modeling, and animation. Then life happened and I never actually got a real job doing any of that. I did, however, end up in a highly creative field that requires me to keep my fabrication skills finely honed and to keep pushing myself to make things better and faster.

    Why should I learn 3D Modeling?

    Enter my 3D modeling skills! In prop and costume making, I've found that being competent at 3D modeling has been an amazing boon to the productivity and quality of the pieces I produce. The obvious first reason is the current 3D printing craze. 3D models of props can be made real with affordable desktop printers at an alarming rate. This rapid prototyping makes iterating prop designs a snap! Not only can props be made completely from printed parts, but those prints can be used to design, scale, and test parts quickly and easily.

    These blaster grips were printed several times to adjust for the scale and thickness to get them just right.

    3D drafting can also provide a bevy of other benefits to the prop maker, even if one doesn't own a 3D printer. One of my other favorite outputs for my models is Pepakura. Many makers rely on the pep files that other makers release online to print out and make their own Iron Man helmets and armor pieces, but what if nobody has modeled the specific piece that you want to recreate? You're going to have to model it yourself!

    If you make your own Pepakura models, you have complete control over the size and form of the final pieces. This flexibility will give you the power to make pieces that will fit whatever body you plan to put them on. Plus you can design the Pepakura to work with materials of a variety of thicknesses (EVA foam vs. cardstock).

    Tested: Blade Chroma 4K Quadcopter

    Choosing a multi-rotor for aerial photography can be tough. Not only is there a large variety of platforms to choose from, but many of these multi-rotors share a sizable core of common features. It often takes detailed research to sort out what the differences are in terms of capabilities and performance.

    Most aerial photography (AP) multi-rotors feature a video downlink system that utilizes your personal phone or tablet as the viewing screen. While most of these set-ups work quite well, incorporating a third-party device into the mix adds a few unwanted variables and opens the door for potential compatibility issues. Even the small overhead of simply keeping another device charged has bitten me a time or two. The flying field is a crummy place to figure out that your kids borrowed your iPad and didn't bother to charge it!

    The Blade Chroma 4K is the first AP quad I've reviewed that has the video screen integrated into the radio transmitter. This means that everything necessary to fly, monitor, and record video (and photos) is in the box.

    About the Chroma

    The Chroma is available in a few different configurations. Some can carry a GoPro via a static mount or a 3-axis gimbal. Other models have a 3-axis gimbal with an integrated 1080P or 4K camera. These latter packages are the truly turnkey systems of the bunch. Horizon Hobby provided a Chroma 4K ($800) for this review.

    With a diameter of 400mm, the Chroma is a little bigger than its 350mm predecessor in the Blade lineup, the 350QX3. Like the QX3, the Chroma is encased in a plastic shell. All of the electronics are nestled inside. The Chroma also has a pop-up GPS antenna that helps to keep it clear of RF noise that could hinder reception. Ready-to-fly weight of the Chroma 4K is just a few grams shy of 3 pounds.

    The Chroma includes absolutely everything needed to begin shooting Ultra-High Definition video.

    The proprietary 3-cell LiPo battery snaps into place on the bottom side of the body. Electrical contact is made as the battery is inserted into place. Markings on the battery suggest that it has a capacity of 5400mAh, but an update from Blade states that it is actually 6300mAh. It takes a little under two hours to refill a depleted battery with the provided AC-powered charger. Additional batteries are available for $120 each.

    Tested: Samsung Galaxy S7 Smartphone

    We've been using Samsung's latest flagship smartphone for over a month, and here are our testing results. While processor performance improvements alone aren't enough to justify an upgrade, the new camera, water resistance, battery capacity, and return of expandable storage makes the Galaxy S7 an excellent Android phone.

    The State of Hard Drives in the SSD Age

    If you're a PC performance enthusiast without severe budget constraints, you're probably running an SSD in your system. Solid state drive prices continue to plummet, dropping below $0.22 per gigabyte on some 1TB models. While older systems may continue to run a secondary hard drive with rotating platters, newer systems, most users can get by with a single 1TB SSD.

    Alas, I'm not "most users". I just bought a Western Digital Black 6TB hard drive, which spins at 7,200RPM and includes a 128MB cache. The 6TB drive actually replaces two other drives, an aging 4TB WD drive and a really old 2TB Western Digital model. Why on earth do I need a 6TB drive? In reality, I don't — the 4TB drive alone would be adequate; I had two drives for historical reasons that no longer apply.

    On the other hand, the 4TB drive looked like it might need replacing. Adobe Lightroom occasionally rebuilds its catalog when you exit the program. I recently postponed the rebuild because my 4TB drive began making really weird noises during catalog rebuild, and seemed to take forever. A quick CHKDSK revealed no serious errors, but the noise and time to rebuild worried me. So I bought a new drive, and as I did, I thought to myself, why not 6TB? (This despite the fact that combining the 2TB drive contents onto the 4TB drive still leaves me with almost 2TB free).

    My pictures folder contains 1.07TB worth of photos, the documents folder is holds 242GB, and the downloads folder houses 1.3TB. Pruning some stuff out of the downloads folder would likely save 500GB, but that's about it. I'm a digital packrat, with terabytes to fill up. The 6TB drive also runs faster than the older 4TB, at least according to Storage Review, so that's a factor in its favor.

    The interesting thing about the drive, though, is its cost: $269, which translates to less than a nickel per gigabyte. It's going to be some time before SSDs approach that price point. I also use hard drives in my NAS. I've got a Drobo5n attached to my network, which contains five Western Digital Red 3TB NAS drives. Those drives cost even less, at a scant $0.04 per gigabyte. I'd hate to try to build a 15GB Drobo array with SSDs.

    How to Build the PinSim Virtual Reality Pinball Machine

    The PinSim cabinet is essentially the first eight inches of a real pinball table. I designed it to play VR pinball games, but it works just as well as an interface for traditional flat screen pinball games. The following instructions will help you make one of your own. I'll cover the most basic build first and then look at a few optional upgrades.

    The electronics are based on Teensy LC and employ the incredible MSF-XINPUT library by Zachery Littell. This new library fools the computer into thinking the Teensy LC is an Xbox 360 gamepad, thus minimizing latency and maximizing compatibility. It even supports force feedback rumble! Zack spent time improving his library to assist with this project, so major thanks to him.

    There are many possibilities for cabinet material. My original cabinet was cut from foam core but wood will provide a more lasting frame. Just make sure to consider the material thickness before cutting the sides of the cabinet. The graphics below illustrate the exterior dimensions and hole placements, but the diameter of the drill holes will depend on the buttons you choose to use.

    Let's start with the parts you'll need.

    Nvidia Announces GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070

    This may be the video card VR early-adopters have been waiting for. Last Friday, Nvidia announced the highly-anticipated consumer release of its Pascal GPU architecture in two GTX 1000 series video cards. Priced at $380 and $600, the GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 each theoretically outperform last year's Titan X, an incredible feat given that Nvidia's previous flagship was priced at $1000. The Maxwell-based Titan X, if you recall, was the first video card I tested that you could comfortably play games at 4K resolution without any graphical compromises, which bodes well for these new cards. That performance is due to Pascal's architecture (with technologies like Simultaneous Multi-Projection and CUDA optimizations), which Nvidia claims is twice as efficient as Maxwell, while also benefitting from TSMC's 16nm FinFET process (Maxwell was built off of a 28nm process). GTX 1080 will run at a staggering 1607MHz core clock, from GTX 980's 1126MHz. The higher-end card will also be the first to utilize GDDR5X memory.

    Nvidia is also clearly aware that there's a huge potential customer base in virtual reality early adopters with the 1000 series cards. Aside from sheer pixel-pushing performance--which VR applications are more than happy to gobble up--the cards are supposed to be optimized for VR rendering tasks like lens distortion correction and stereo rendering. GeForce Experience will also have a new photo mode called Ansel, which will allow gamers to control a free-moving camera in-engine to take high-resolution 360-degree stereo screenshots for viewing in VR headsets. I can't wait to test these cards out, and it'll be interesting to see how AMD positions its upcoming Polaris graphics cards against Pascal.

    100 Drones Light Up the Sky in an Aerial Performance

    From Intel: "With exemptions from the FAA, Intel's Drone 100 lights up the night sky in Palm Springs, CA in the first showing of the aerial experience in the United States." This type of aerial drone performance has been experimented with before overseas and in controlled indoor environments, and is beautiful to watch unfold at this scale. The ambition to scale this up to 1000 drones is even more exciting. Earlier this year, Disney applied for FAA exemption to test the same kind of performance in its theme parks.

    In Brief: Gorgeous Visual Guide to Early Computers

    Vice Motherboard shares this beautiful gallery from London production studio INK, in which photographer Docubyte showcases mid-century computers like the room-sized Harwell Dekatron and IBM 1401. The vivid photos realize the gorgeous industrial design of these vintage mainframes, and while you wouldn't want to trade your smartphone for any of these machines, the photos make for great smartphone wallpapers. Right-click and save!

    Norman
    Tested: WeBoost Cell Phone Signal Booster

    We review the WeBoost EQO, a cell phone booster that works by picking up cellular signals from an area with good reception and amplifying it to an area with poor reception. Patrick Norton talks about the setup process, his experience with signal performance, and what scenarios the WeBoost is most effective.

    Google Play App Roundup: App Volume Control, Gangfort, and Hungry Shark World

    Well, your phone or tablet might be cool, but it could be a lot cooler with the right apps. So what? Spend like mad until you find the apps that suit your needs? Nah, just read the weekly Google Play App Roundup here on Tested. We strive to bring you the best new and newly updated apps on Android. Just click the app name to head to the Play Store.

    App Volume Control

    Volume control on Android has changed repeatedly in the last few iterations, and OEMs often change the way this feature works. It can be a pain to simply make sure you have sound when you want it, and no sound when you don't. App Volume Control is a new app that aims to make it simple by automating the process. Well, the setup isn't particularly simple, but after that it's smooth sailing.

    App Volume Control will need accessibility access on your device, which it uses to manage your volume levels down to the smallest detail depending on the app you have open. For example, maybe you want to keep your phone completely silent except for media volume when you open a music or video player. So, just find those apps in the main App Volume Control list and turn them on for automation. Then, choose the volume levels you want to control and save.

    The toughest part of using this app is just making sense of all the options. Android phones expose a ton of volume control options, and App Volume Control takes advantage of every one. Not only can you set the media, ring, alarm, notification, and system volume, you can choose different settings depending on how the sound is being played. The default mode is the phone speakers, but you can change the setting for headset and Bluetooth audio independently.

    And all that is just for starters. Literally, just when starting an app. Each app has a tab for starting and another for closing. The default setting in the second tab is to restore the previous volume when you leave an automated app, but you can also pick a custom setting with the same level of granularity as above. You even get a little toast notification to let you know App Volume Control is working (can be disabled in the settings).

    App Volume Control runs a service in the background to manage all this, but it doesn't seem to have any effect on performance or battery life in my testing. I'd like it if the app were a little more attractive or laid out better (it reminds me a little of setting up a Tasker profile right now), but it does what it's supposed to. The free version has a persistent ad at the bottom, but there's a pro version that you can buy for $0.99 that doesn't have that.

    Microsculpture: Levon Biss' Insect Photographs

    Microsculpture from Levon Biss on Vimeo.

    FromLevon Biss, who takes thousands of shallow depth-of-field photographs of insects, stacking them into one incredible macroscopic image: "Microsculpture is a unique visual experience. A 10mm insect is shown as a 3 meter print, revealing minute detail and allowing the viewer to take in the structure of the insect in its entirety. The beautifully lit, high magnification portraiture of Levon Biss captures the microscopic form of these animals in striking high-resolution detail."

    The Best Android Smartphones for Your Network (May 2016)

    The first round of 2016 Android flagships are all out in the open, and that means you've got a serious decision to make if the time has come for an upgrade. The best Android phones are priced near or over $700, so you don't want to make the wrong decision. That's a lot of coin to spend on a phone if you don't like it. Samsung was the undisputed winner last month on the carrier side, but this month the HTC 10 is up for preorder.

    Carrier Phones

    The Galaxy S7 has a very similar overall aesthetic to the Galaxy S6, but it makes several important changes. It's not a revolutionary device, but it really focuses on the GS6's shortcomings. There will be deals on the GS6, but don't let the similar looks fool you. The GS7 is a much better phone and it's worth the cost.

    Samsung is using a metal and glass unibody design for the GS7. So yes, that means fingerprints and the potential of a cracked back if you drop the GS7. The designers took an unusual step, though. Samsung made the GS7 about a millimeter thicker so the camera hump is flush with the back, and there's more room inside for a bigger battery. The glass panel on the back also has curved edges to make it more comfortable in your hand.

    The slightly thicker frame means the regular GS7 has a 3000mAh battery, and the GS7 Edge has 3600mAh. Both phones are also water resistant, which is a feature Samsung dropped from the GS6. There's also a microSD card slot in these phones, another improvement over the Galaxy S6, but it doesn't support adoptable storage in Android 6.0.

    The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have new Super AMOLED panels with the same 1440p resolution as last year. The GS7 is 5.1-inches, while the Edge variant has a larger 5.5-inch display. The Edge, of course, has a screen that curves down on the left and right edge. I don't think the Edge is as comfortable because of the narrower band around the screen. There are a few software features that are intended to take advantage of the curved panel, but none of them are necessary. The real reason to get this version of the device is that it looks really cool.

    Everything You Need to Know About Fingerprint Sensors on Android

    Android phones started sporting fingerprint sensors years ago, but the technology was still too early to make a big impact on the experience. After Apple introduced Touch ID on the iPhone, Android OEMs came back to fingerprint reader tech with renewed interest. Thanks to improved hardware, it has become a feature people actually want on Android. However, not all fingerprint readers on Android are created equal. Here's how they differ, and how users can maximize their usefulness today.

    Speed and accuracy

    Having a phone that unlocks quickly from a fingerprint is good, but sometimes accuracy is actually preferable. One of the primary things to consider here is how you wake up the phone. Take the Nexus phones for example -- you can tap the rear-facing Nexus Imprint sensor to wake and unlock the phone. It happens quickly and is highly accurate. If you want to see the lock screen without unlocking, there's a dedicated power button on the side. The Honor 5X is similar, and works quite well.

    The G5, on the other hand, has the power button combined with the rear-facing sensor. If you press the button so you can just check your notifications on the lock screen, it's probably going to read your fingerprint because the sensor is very fast to react. That might not be what you want in this scenario because fast doesn't mean accurate. The G5's sensor misses more often than the Nexus phones, so you may get a rejected print. When that happens, you have to lift your finger and tap again should you decided to unlock. It's annoying. So here, you might prefer the sensor was slower and more accurate. The V10 suffers from the same issue, but it seems a bit more accurate to me at least.

    How to Get Into Hobby RC: Exploring RC Drift Cars

    I assume that most of you are at least somewhat familiar with drifting as a popular motorsport. Perhaps you saw the MythBusters episode about drifting or heard Adam talk about his drift-related run-in with the cops. If none of the above apply to you, then I can summarize drifting by telling you that it is a form of driving where the car is rarely moving in the direction it is pointed.

    Much like traditional auto racing, drifting requires a car with plenty of horsepower and a skilled driver. Beyond that, the similarities begin to fade. Whereas a race car driver may view a turn in the track as an obstacle that must be negotiated as efficiently as possible, a drift car driver is likely to view that same turn as a blank canvas where he or she can flaunt their skill and artistry behind the wheel. If you've ever doubted that roaring exhaust, tire smoke and burned rubber are artistic mediums, watching a skilled drift driver will probably convince you otherwise.

    Downsized Drifting

    I began this project knowing absolutely nothing about RC drifting. I did a little research into how drift competitions are run. From what I've read, they are usually judged events. Driving skill is very important, but it isn't really about crossing the finish line first. Drifting style, consistency, and precision are the attributes that will gain you more points from the judges and a trip to the winner's circle.

    After my first few attempts at drift driving, it was pretty clear that I needed some pointers. A quick web search landed me at DriftMission.com, which has a lot of helpful info. I also reached out to the staff at Drift Mission to get a better idea of what RC drifting is all about. Here's what they had to say:

    What are the different classes of RC drift competition?

    Drift Mission: There are different types of RC Drifting: 50/50, Countersteer, and Rear Wheel Drive. 50/50 implies that 50 percent of the power is driven to the front and 50 percent to the back. Countersteer is a method to overspin the rear end to enhance the drifting experience, so instead of 50/50 it could be 40/60, 30/70, 20/80…etc.

    Rear wheel drive is the new hotness and the scene is slowly heading this direction. It makes the RC drifting look more realistic and provides more lock [where the front wheels are fully turned in the direction of the drift] during drifting. There is also usually a concours contest to show off the best bodies with the most detail.

    Inside Mike Senna's BB-8 Replica Droid!

    BB-8 replicas continue to impress us! We meet up with droid builder Mike Senna to take a look under the hood of his newest BB-8 robot replica. Mike, who first made a fully animated BB-8 in time for Star Wars: The Force Awakens last year, has now built a static model that is more practical for display and convention appearances. Here's how it works!