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Note Warning: Despite the fact that all Scratch Lab projects are saved in an SB3 file, it is not possible to upload them in the default Scratch editor, for the extensions are not in Scratch's default and main editor. Doing so will result in a crash in the site. Opening a Scratch Lab project with the Scratch Desktop will cause it to load infinitely.

Scratch Lab is a website created by the Scratch Team to share experimental features and new ideas. Scratch Lab showcases potential new features for Scratch to get the public's opinion on them, however, not all Scratch Lab blocks get added to Scratch. The Scratch Team announced Scratch Lab on February 2nd 2021 at 12:46 PM Eastern Time.[1] The Scratch Team also announced the news via the Front Page and the Announcements topic. The Scratch Lab homepage can be found at lab.scratch.mit.edu

Scratch Lab is a space for our team to tinker, test, and play with new ideas. But most importantly, Scratch Lab is a space for you! We’d love to hear what you think with the feedback forms on the Scratch Lab website. Have fun with these experimental features, and stay tuned to find out what’s next for Scratch Lab!

– Scratch Team

An experimental project using the Animated Text extension

Experimental Features

There are currently two experimental extensions on Scratch Lab:

Animated Text

Animated Text allows writing of text using special blocks and uses all the fonts from the paint editor, except the 中文 (Chinese), 日本語 (Japanese) and 한국어 (Korean) fonts. It was released on February 2nd 2021 along with the Face Sensing experimental feature, the day Scratch Lab was announced.

Blocks

  • show text () :: extension — Prints text.
  • [rainbow v] text () :: extension — Prints text with a type, rainbow, or zoom effect.
  • show sprite :: extension — Erases text and returns to the sprite.
  • set font to [Pixel v] :: extension — Sets text font to Sans Serif, Serif, Handwriting, Marker, Curly, Pixel or a random font.
  • set text color to [#0000ff] :: extension — Sets text color.
  • set width to () aligned [left v] :: extension — Aligns text to left, center, or right.

Custom Fonts

It is possible to use any installed font in Scratch Lab. To do this:

  1. Create a new Scratch Lab project with a set font to [Pixel v] :: extension block.
  2. Save the project to the computer.
  3. Decompress the .sb3 file.
  4. Open the project.json file in a text editor.
  5. Locate the text.setFont section of the json.
  6. Replace the code specifying the font (should say "Pixel") to the name of a font installed.
  7. Compress the project folder into a .zip.
  8. Rename the .zip file to an .sb3 file (Optional, but faster)
  9. In Scratch Lab, open the .sb3.
  10. The set font to [Pixel v] :: extension block should now be set to the font that has been selected.

Face Sensing

Face Sensing tracks a face's movement using special blocks and can detect if a face or certain facial features (eg: a nose) is present. It was released on February 2nd 2021 along with the Animated Text experimental feature, the day Scratch Labs was announced.

Blocks

  • go to [nose v] :: extension — Makes the sprite follow a detected face's nose, mouth, left and right eyes, between eyes, left and right ear, or top of head.
  • point in direction of face tilt :: extension — Points the sprite in the direction of the detected face.
  • set size to face size :: extension — Sets the size of the sprite to the size of the detected face.
  • when face tilts [left v] :: extension hat — Activates when the detected face tilts left, or right.
  • when this sprite touches [nose v] :: extension hat — Activates when a sprite touches a detected face's nose, mouth, left and right eyes, between eyes, left and right ear, or top of head.
  • when a face is detected :: extension hat — Activates when a face is detected.
  • <a face is detected? :: extension> — Senses if a face is detected.
  • (face tilt :: extension) — Returns the detected face's tilt.
  • (face size :: extension) — Returns the detected face's size.

Feedback

There is a "Give Feedback" button on each project page using the Labs Editor. This redirects the user to a Google Form. There are 2 different Forms, one for the Face Sensing extension[2], and another for the Animated Text extension.[3] It asks what the user liked and disliked about the blocks, what could be improved on, and their username and browser that they were using to test out these features (the last two questions are optional.) Those that have entered their username in their response may get followed up on their feedback.

History

When Scratch Lab was first released, there was no homepage. As a result, there was a "Whoops! This Scratch Lab page doesn't exist" error when visiting lab.scratch.mit.edu[4] The homepage was later added on April 30th, 2021.[5]

References

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