Culture 3 min read

Nintendo Labo Inspires Smash Mouth Covers and Wheelchair Innovations

Nintendo changed the console game forever with the Switch console. The new cardboard products under the Nintendo Labo name are also making waves in the form of piano covers and new ways to operate mechanical wheelchairs.

Nintendo Labo | Nintendo.co.uk

Nintendo Labo | Nintendo.co.uk

Nintendo Labo is making serious waves with its unconventional approach to gaming hardware, and its effects are being seen in some unexpected places.

The notorious (?) song from the movie Shrek is still getting new covers and edits in weird videos like:

  • “All Star” except every word is ‘Somebody
  • “All Star” but ‘star’ is replaced with Gordon Ramsay insults
  • Closer by the Chainsmokers but every lyric is replaced by All Star by Smash Mouth

Now, YouTube user Akfamilyhome had their viral moment with the Nintendo Labo Piano cover of “All Star”.

Apart from inspiring viral videos, the Nintendo Labo products inspire innovation, too.

If creating instruments seems impressive for Nintendo Switch controllers, what about making a wheelchair remote?

No Need for Shrek — Make Your own Swamp

For those unfamiliar with this reference, Smash Mouth’s song “All Star” featured prominently in the first Shrek movie. It also featured in Mystery Men, one of my favorite movies.

But that cover linked above isn’t the only cool thing Labo users created. In fact, users made all kinds of covers from “Song of Healing” in Legend of Zelda to “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.

Basically, all you have to do is construct the instrument (you can make pianos AND guitars). Then, you hook it up to the Nintendo Switch and use different programs to make music.

You play a cardboard piano and produce real sounds — that’s wild.

The other features such as the fishing rod and Robot Kit transform your joy cons into different tools. That’s how Kentaro Yoshifuji conceived his Nintendo Labo operated wheelchair.

A new way to Operate Wheelchairs and More

Inventor and Japanese researchers Kentaro Yoshifuji wants to increase accessibility for everyone. His company Ory Laboratory, co-founded with Aki Yuki and Yoshifumi Shiiba, wants to help the world using robots.

This stems from Yoshifuji’s own struggles in his early years with missing school due to medical reasons. His latest application of the Nintendo Labo as a wheelchair operator fits right in with his company’s overall vision.

The boy zooming around in the video above is 13-years old but bound to a chair due to a heart condition. But now, he can use the motorcycle Joy-Con setup to control his wheelchair.

He can do this by hooking up the Switch to a mechanical device already on the chair. The motion sensors in the Joy-Cons allow the user to manipulate the chair as they see fit.

This might not be a huge step in the way forward of exoskeletons, but it is still pretty neat.

Kotaku commenters asking the hard questions | Kotaku

The Surprising Applications of Cardboard and Tech

Google Cardboard and Nintendo Labo showcase the versatility of the biodegradable material. But the pairing of cardboard and tech continues to surprise. However, Nintendo Labo parts can be expensive to purchase or replace.

The more intense kits cost $79.99 USD while the smallest kits cost around $10 USD. Replacement parts run between $3 and $62 USD.

Still, integrating hardware and affordable materials like cardboard keeps products competitive. People are even constructing standing desk replicas out of cardboard now.

Unfortunately for those not living in Japan, some of the coolest Labo accessories are only available there. Of course, the accessories also leave some perplexed such as the boutique Nintendo licensed masking tape.

Hopefully, third-party versions of these products don’t brick Nintendo Switches, too.

What other uses could the Nintendo Labo have in the future?

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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