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    Tested: Insta360 One Camera with Stabilization and Tracking

    We're not convinced that 360-degree video shooting makes sense for people watching content on their phones, but the latest update for the Insta360 One camera has us giving it another chance. Their new stabilization algorithm is impressive, and subject tracking in the app makes this a viable alternative to a mechanical gimbal.

    HTC Vive Pro VR Headset Review!

    We test and review the new HTC Vive Pro virtual reality headset! Two years after the release of the original Vive, HTC has upgraded the display, ergonomics, and camera system of their flagship HMD. We discuss how adding 70% more pixels affects gaming and other VR experiences, and who should get this headset. Plus, a bonus game review as we gush over Wipeout on PSVR!

    Hands-On with HTC Vive Wireless Adapter!

    We test untethered virtual reality with the upcoming HTC Vive wireless adapter. To learn how it works with the demanding visual throughput of desktop VR, we chat with DisplayLink, the makers of the chip inside the wireless adapter. Plus, we go over some more games we saw at this year's GDC from Survios and Stress Level Zero.

    Tested: Skydio R1 Autonomous Drone Review

    We review the Skydio R1 Frontier Edition, the first autonomous drone we've tested that lives up to its promises of hands-free flight! We're so impresssed by the Skydio R1's ability to navigate around obstacles and track fast-moving subjects--its movements were almost otherworldly. Watch it chase us as we try to evade it!

    Hobby RC: Testing the Tamiya Dancing Rider

    I consider myself to be pretty well-rounded when it comes to RC stuff. I've dabbled in a little bit of everything during my years in the hobby. Until recently, however, I had one glaring omission from my RC bona fides: I had never built an RC car from Tamiya. That's a little like being a chef who has never made a grilled cheese sandwich!

    Most of my RC buddies got their start in the hobby with iconic Tamiya vehicles like the Grasshopper, Frog, and Blackfoot. These simple and tough machines were ideal for beginning builders and drivers. Tamiya also has a reputation for producing some very unusual RC cars. And that is how I finally filled the Tamiya-shaped void in my life! Enter the Tamiya Dancing Rider.

    About the Dancing Rider

    The Dancing Rider ($146) is modeled after 3-wheel delivery vehicles that are popular in Japan. It is definitely a unique platform in both appearance and function. I'm a sucker for unusual models. So this kit was right up my alley!

    I quickly discovered that I had to abandon all of my standard concepts of scale for RC cars. Tamiya calls the Dancing Rider a 1/8-scale vehicle, but it is much smaller than your average 1/8-scale 4-wheeled rig. Sure, when you scale down a smaller-than-average vehicle, you get a smaller-than-average model. I get it.

    From size and power standpoints, the Dancing Rider has much more in common with 1/18-scale cars than anything you would typically find on the 1/8-scale shelf. One exception is the radio gear used in the Dancing Rider, which is pulled from the 1/10-scale class. None of this scaling is a problem. I just found it interesting.

    Custom Keyboard Spotlight: The Minivan 40% Keyboard

    A standard keyboard has around 104 keys, but some smaller form factors might sport 80 or 60-ish. I'd lay good odds that your keyboard is somewhere in that realm, but there are enthusiast boards that make do with far fewer. So-called 40% keyboards are increasingly popular, and one of the most well-known is the Minivan from TheVan Keyboards. This keyboard is small, but it's more powerful than you'd think.

    The Minivan.

    A 40% keyboard has all the standard alpha keys, but many of the other keys are missing or smaller than usual. These boards all have varying ideas about what keys you need, but I think the Minivan is the best for a few reasons. Rather than use a full-sized spacebar and enter key, the Minivan uses a split space design that lets you have both space and enter on the bottom row. That frees up locations for function keys and mods in the Minivan's small footprint.

    The Minivan also has several keys that are programmed to have different functions depending on whether you press or hold them. For example, the Fn toggle on the right is the quote key if you just press it, but holding it down triggers the assigned function layer. Function layers are a big deal on the Minivan, as you'd probably expect. It doesn't even have a number row, so you'll need to flip between at least two different layers to access all the usual keyboard features. However, you can get extremely efficient with enough practice. Every keyboard function is accessible within no more than two keys of the home row, so you can dramatically cut down on hand movement with a Minivan.

    Like many custom keyboards, this one is fully programmable via the TMK firmware. There's an online config tool where you can visually define your layout and function layers. Flashing that layout to the board is a snap (as long as you've got the necessary program installed on your computer), and you can change it as many times as you want.

    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.

    Testing the Liftoff Drone Racing Simulator

    I've written about several RC flight simulators over the years. There is no doubt that they are excellent tools for developing and polishing your piloting skills. Many sims let you fly multi-rotor models. Some also have First Person View (FPV) features. But very few programs are actually designed to emulate the specific demands of flying a high-speed FPV quad through a challenging race course. Liftoff is one of those simulators.

    The Basics

    Liftoff is a Steam game. I assume that most of us here are familiar with the Steam platform. The minimum system requirements are pretty reasonable. In fact, I have been running Liftoff on a mid-range laptop that doesn't quite hit all of the minimums. The game has been running just fine in single player mode. With that being said, there are still quite a few features that I have not yet utilized. It is possible that some of those features could require more horsepower to run well.

    Don't expect life-like graphics here. You won't find them. However, I think that the image quality is good enough for the sim's intended purpose. What's important to me is that the game runs smoothly and without lag on my machine. It does this even at the highest video quality settings.

    Flying a speedy racing quad through air gates is tougher than it looks. Training on a simulator helps.

    Knowing that it isn't really practical to review all aspects of this simulator, I decided to focus on its core functionality: training to become a better racing quad pilot. For some, that might mean starting at square one. As you will see, I came in with a fair bit of varied experience flying all types of multi-rotors…and perhaps an over-inflated confidence in my abilities.

    In addition to the single-player flight simulation, you can race against other people online, create your own race course, design a cyber multi-rotor, and other neat things. But those capabilities are garnish to the fundamental purpose of the sim. People who are really into gaming may have an interest in such features. I'm okay ignoring them.

    Tested: Glowforge Laser Cutter Review

    After using the Glowforge personal laser cutter for six months, Jeremy and Norm talk about the projects they've done, the lessons they've learned from using the machine, and caveats of its operation. The Glowforge definitely has its limitations, but being able to easily laser cut in our own homes has changed the way we think about making things.

    Hands-On with Skydio R1 Autonomous Drone!

    We go hands-on with the Skydio R1, a camera-equipped drone that not only flies autonomously, but can actually track you and avoid almost any obstacle in its flight path. And from our first test, it actually works--we couldn't get it to crash. Skydio CEO and co-founder Adam Bry walks us through the computer vision technology that makes the R1 work, and we share our impressions from the impressive test flight.

    Show and Tell: Augmented Reality Model of the Moon

    We check out Astroreality's Lunar Pro, a detailed model of the moon that works with a companion app to show some extra details through augmented reality. While the model itself is nicely made and finished, the software experience leaves much to be desired. It's a neat concept that disappoints with its execution.

    Testing: Traxxas TRX-4 RC Rock Crawler

    Portal axles are a feature sometimes found on full-scale off-road cars and trucks. The basic concept is that gears located near the wheel hubs allow the axle to be offset above the middle of the wheel. This provides increased ground clearance, which is often a handy feature when off-roading.

    Until recently, I had never seen an RC vehicle with portal axles. That changed when I found an advertisement for the Traxxas TRX-4. It includes these types of axles as standard equipment. I was interested to see if portal axles are actually useful in 1/10-scale. Traxxas provided a TRX-4 Tactical Unit ($450) for this review.

    TRX-4 Overview

    The TRX-4 is a factory-built model that includes a 4-channel 2.4GHz radio system. You will have to provide four AA alkaline batteries for the transmitter as well as a battery for the vehicle. There is a wide variety of applicable vehicle batteries, so I'll cover that in more detail a little later.

    My first impression while unboxing the TRX-4 was that it is quite heavy. I later weighed it and confirmed that this truck is indeed beefier than my other 1/10-scale vehicles. The TRX-4 comes in at 7.2 pounds without a battery. My other 1/10-scale vehicles average about 4 to 5 pounds. As you will see, the TRX-4 is heavier for good reason.

    The polycarbonate body is factory painted and includes bolt-on scale details.

    Even the body is notably heavy. Like most RC truck bodies, it is made of polycarbonate (Lexan). This one comes pre-painted in a 3-tone camouflage pattern. Its extra weight comes from bolt-on scale details such as a spare tire, gas can, and fender skirts.

    The good news here is that the TRX-4 is a rock crawler, trail rig, and basher, so a little extra weight is usually no big deal. Once you include the "cool factor" of the features that make this truck big-boned, I doubt you'll mind the extra baggage. It certainly hasn't bothered me.

    Show and Tell: Fat Shark 101 FPV Quadcopter

    We take the new Fat Shark 101 quadcopter for a spin to see if this ready-to-fly system can be a good entry point for FPV drone racing. Fat Shark puts quadcopter, transmitter, and FPV goggles in one package that works outside the box, but its features may be too limiting for drone fans.

    Tested Mailbag: Power Loader LEGO MOC!

    The first mystery mailbag of the new year! Dan Schlumpp sent us a care package with some of our favorite things: custom LEGO sets! We put together his beautiful power loader and Alien queen kit, and Dan has made the build instructions free to download! Find Dan's MOC designs and other LEGO creations here.

    Quick Look at the Shaper Origin Handheld CNC!

    We have the new Shaper Origin CNC machine in our workshop! This is a handheld CNC that uses computer vision to align itself to the material you're routing, like plywood or MDF. We take it for a spin with a simple test project to show you the basics of how it works and the quirks of its operation.

    Testing: Fat Shark 101 Drone Training System

    Flying First Person View (FPV) racers isn't easy. Weaving through the small gates that define a FPV race course demands confidence and skills that must be earned. Those first baby steps of becoming an FPV pilot can be rough for some. While there is no single training path that is guaranteed to work for everyone, there are definitely high-yield, low-risk methods to becoming a competent pilot.

    Fat Shark recently announced a setup that combines several popular training tools into one box. Called "Fat Shark 101" ($250), this package includes simulator training as well as a flight-ready multi-rotor and goggles. The goal is to elevate you out of noob status and get you on the race course without leaving a trail of expletives and broken parts.

    About Fat Shark 101

    The 101 package is all-inclusive. I didn't have to add a thing to get it going. Even AA batteries for the transmitter are included. The core of the 101 set is a 105mm quadcopter. This quad uses brushed motors and is powered by a 2-cell 260mAh LiPo battery. Two batteries are provided in the kit, along with a USB charger for them.

    No assembly is required for the quad. You can decide for yourself whether the shark-like profile is cool. I happen to like it. From a practicality standpoint, the tail really improves in-flight orientation when flying by line-of-sight.

    The Fat Shark 101 kit is intended to provide all of the necessary tools to get rookie drone pilots race-ready.

    I've always preached about the practicality of using small, indoor-capable quads as training tools. The prime drawback with that approach is that most of the smaller, beginner-oriented quads include an undersized control transmitter. Some are ridiculously small. You are often forced to readjust to the feel of the control sticks when you transition to a full-size transmitter.

    Testing: Prusa i3 Multi-Material 3D Printing

    Most FDM 3D printers can print in one color at a time, and just a few can use two filaments at once. But the newest upgrade to the Prusa i3 printer gives us the ability to print with four colors! Jeremy and Sean test this upgrade and explain how multi-material printing works, along with its potential and pitfalls.

    Testing: Kyosho Ultima RB6.6 RC Off-Road Racer

    Not long ago, I reviewed Kyosho's re-release of the Optima 4-wheel-drive off-road RC racer. I was pretty excited to do that review because I had always pined for an Optima as a kid. This time around, I'll be looking at another off-roader from Kyosho: the 2-wheel-drive Ultima RB6.6. I'm feeling a little nostalgic here as well because an Ultima was the car that I did get as a kid.

    The RB6.6 is not a re-release of the vintage Ultima. Rather, this is the latest iteration in a long line of variants dating back to 1987. The design has evolved to stay competitive while keeping pace with ever-changing technology and racing trends. A cursory glance reveals that this car shares only its name with my former Ultima.

    About the Ultima RB6.6

    Kyosho offers the latest Ultima in two forms. The kit version ($400) is intended for hard-core racers, while the Readyset ($250) is better-suited for beginning racers and backyard bashers. This review covers the Readyset variant.

    The core design of both cars is the same. The kit version includes higher-end racing hardware such as aluminum-bodied shocks, a ball differential, and even several different transmission configurations. You must assemble the kit (not a bad thing) and provide all of the electronics. One advantage of the Readyset option is that it includes a 2.4GHz radio system and the onboard electronics. The only things you have to add are a battery, charger, and four AA cells for the transmitter.

    The Readyset arrives factory-assembled. You could literally open the box and be driving the Ultima a few minutes later. A positive aspect of this situation is that rookie RC mechanics need not worry about knowing the correct way to install a given component--it's already done. The flip side is that they will eventually need these skills. Maintenance and repair is an important aspect of owning an RC car. Thankfully, the hefty manual dedicates many pages to proper maintenance steps.