It wasn’t until Mario Kart 64 that I ever had the pleasure of playing a Mario Kart game. However once I got it, I was hooked and have loved all of the Mario Kart games since (and I went back and played the older ones). However, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that somebody would turn Mario Kart into reality.
Back in early 2011, I posted an absolutely hilarious video of Rémi Gaillard’s real life Mario Kart adventure (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, take a minute and go watch it because you deserve to be on the floor laughing) but it didn’t quite replicate the experience of the game like the a team of engineers at Waterloo Labs have done with the video below.
This team of engineers went to a real go-kart track and modified some go-karts to use a system of RFIDs that would allow them to use items just like you would find in the game. Below is a description of how part of the system works but I suggest watching the video below as it will walk you through their creation as well as you can see the test they did trying it out (it is hilarious!). Also, if you want to recreate this for yourself and have some real life Mario Kart fun, you can download the project over at Waterloo Labs.
The go-karts behave normally until an item is detected. RFID tags embedded into each item transmit signals to the readers located on each kart. The compact RIO (cRIO) processes these signals and outputs the signals to control the corresponding pneumatic valves and servo motors that control the movement of the go kart. Steering is controlled with two pneumatic cylinders and the brake with one cylinder. The governor, or speed limiter, is controlled with two servo motors.
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[Source: Waterloo Labs via Nerd Approved]