By: Miguel Melo
Nintendo Labo§ offers users the ability to create a variety of exciting designs and projects created completely from cardboard. All aspects of the necessary software are included in the accompanying Nintendo Switch game. As such, the cardboard creations can become fully functional objects like a robotic suit ,§ a fishing pole ,§ or a musical instrument .§ By doing so, the Nintendo Labo allows users’ imaginations to combine with one of the most versatile gaming consoles available.
As of July 2021, Nintendo has released four kits, including: the Variety Kit ,§ the Robot Kit ,2 the Vehicle Kit ,§ and the Virtual Reality (VR) Kit .§ Regardless of the particular goal of a kit, there are two components: the cardboard cutouts and the physical game. Users build the cardboard cutouts to create varying objects guided by the game that they insert into their Nintendo Switch Console .§
Once built, a user’s creations can provide many functions. For example, in the VR kit, users build VR goggles that help bring their game to life by allowing users to experience the game world around them in an immersive way.
The process of creating the objects epitomizes the key STEM-oriented skills found in today’s world. Problem solving, teamwork, and troubleshooting are a handful of the skills that are exemplified upon while constructing a Nintendo Labo. For example, the VR Kit previously mentioned emphasizes several aspects of VR, including a headset. As such, users can familiarize themselves with the features of VR concepts and how it works.
It is paramount to understand that the Nintendo Labo is a mere accessory for the Nintendo Switch, meaning that it can not function by itself. While the cardboard cutouts can be made without the aid of the Nintendo Switch, in order to feel the full functionality of the Labo, a Nintendo Switch is needed. In addition, all four kits add different types of functionality, respective to their titles. For example, the Vehicle Kit guides users to create a steering wheel for a car in-game.
Examples in the labs
At the IgnitED Lab, there are two kits available. One is the VR Kit and the other is the Robot Kit. While the kits have already been built by ETCs of the Lab, the Labo offers moments of reusability and disassembly in order for other users to get the full experience again.
Uses in education
The Nintendo Labo shines brightest when put in front of younger audiences. The Nintendo Labo helps establish a foundation of essential STEM skills, as some aspects of the Labo deals with concepts such as coding and basic input and output systems, all within a family-friendly environment. Students can learn how to create games with the same device that allows them to play with Mario, so these STEM subjects are delivered in an easy and natural way. Alongside these STEM skills, students also learn how to problem solve and explore their creativity, as Nintendo heavily encourages users to decorate their Labos to really make them their own.