Researchers at Waterloo Labs have managed to recreate Super Mario Kart, complete with power-ups. To power the vehicles, the team used self-powered RFID system, which cost an extra $500 over traditional tags, but could transmit signals “as far as 30 feet away, allowing each kart to interact with objects via its own RFID reader.” Continue reading for a video and more information.
The interns’ biggest hurdle: overriding the kart’s controls. “We needed to be able to fight against someone trying to turn the wheel,” says Lynch. They eventually selected powerful pneumatic pistons, which they attached to the chassis using zip ties, duct tape, and braces. When a driver captured or collided with an item, a reader would send that item’s unique ID to the computer, which, in turn, ordered pistons, valves, or servomotors to swerve, stop, or speed up the kart.