Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What is a Switch? What is a Labo?

Every summer is hard for working moms.  My grandchildren are getting older and most of them don't need child care anymore.  Our youngest is fortunate to have his other grandparents who always step up to take care of him.  Our second youngest, Jack, is going to be ten years old in a few days and usually stays home with his brother and sister.  Once in a while for a break, he wants to spend the day with us.  Last Thursday was one of those days.  He always wants to do projects that are way over my head, but fortunately he has a grandpa who is there to help.  He is kind of like Mighty Mouse..Here I come to save the day.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Nintendo Switch, I'm with you.  I still am not exactly sure what it is.  I surely don't know how it works.  I think you have to be younger than sixteen to understand it.  The Nintendo Switch is basically a video game console.  The main unit fits into a docking station which can connected to a television or a tablet.  It also has wireless controllers which sense motion and direction.

The switch on the docking station. 
This is the unit with controllers. 
The controllers can be removed.
The switch has an extension called a Labo.  The Labo has a variety of cardboard cutouts that can be assembled to work with the Switch controllers or console.  Jack did a lot of chores around the house to earn money to buy this extension.  The cardboard shapes have to be assembled and the switch controller or console is inserted into it.  You can actually play a piano with the piano shape, you can drive a motorcycle or catch fish to put into your saved aquarium. 

You can play games.  

All this being said and probably not explained very well, Jack wanted to create his own Labo made out of cardboard.  He searched the internet and found a youtube video of someone making dice.  The problem was that it was a video in another language, and it had no instructions.  After watching it, Jack said "I get it.  I can make it work."

The next step was to find some cardboard.  Grandpa went out to the garage and came in with a big piece of cardboard.  They cleared off the dining room table and began.  They had to make a cardboard cube.  Grandpa was a math teacher for a long time so he knew how to accomplish that and he drew it out.

They carefully cut it out without cutting the dining room table.  When it was cut, it looked like a cross to me.

Next it had to be folded.  Jack was good at that because he had made every item in the Labo kit he bought.  He had already made a piano, a fishing pole, a race car and other things.

When the cube was made, they had to make a pocket inside to fit the Switch controller.  We hot glued it all together and added magnets to close the box.  The magnets may need to be replaced, but for now they will work.  The only ones we could find to use were some rock-like magnets we bought when we visited the zoo.

The box is glued together, the controller put inside and the magnets glued on. 
Put down the lid.  It stays attached because of the magnets.

Then it was time to test the die.  We set up the screen on a plate rack so we could see it.  Jack had already programmed it.  He made sure the numbers on a real die were in the same position as the ones on his cube.

Then he rolled the die and the number showed up on the screen just as it would be on a real die.

This time he rolled a five.

I can't believe it really worked.  It is scary where technology is going, and how much ten year old kids know.  I'm not saying kids now days are smarter than we were, but they certainly are using their brain in a different way.  I watched this whole process and watched him play, but I really don't have a clue how it's done.  It was fun though.  He said next time he wants to make a guitar.  Oh boy!!!