Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Real-Life Mario Kart

Pictured: Mario bringing it.
How cool is this? Two Texan engineers, Hunter Smith and Ben James, have created a live-action Mario Kart game combining actual go-karts and the wonders of modern technology. "What's so great about that?" you brazenly ask. Well what's so great about that is that the game features collectible power-ups which are actually able to affect the performance of the cars in the race! RFID-embedded power-up boxes dangle over the track containing items like bananas and turtle shells which, when sensed by the in-car RFID reader, will tell the player's vehicle how to react. So for example, the mushroom power-up, when grabbed by a driver, will wirelessly activate motors that enable the go-kart to speed up!

“Ben and I grew up playing Mario Kart on Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 so we’re both big fans,” Smith, the co-founder of Austin Texas-based Waterloo Labs, told Wired. We got the idea for the real-life Mario because we work with First Robotics Competition and they use same controller, software and motors. We got a few extra kits so we asked ourselves ‘What can we do with these competition kits that would be fun?”

The engineers have posted the system details and source code for the entire project on the Waterloo Labs website so anyone with access to the raw materials can build their own simulation, however it is regrettably noted that they currently have no plans to make it a permanent exhibit. Boooo!


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