Fun & Games
Real-life Mario Kart with RFID-Tagged Special Items

There’s no denying that Mario Kart was a classic game for the SNES platform, and it has inspired many maker projects in the past. Some have even experimented with using actual go-karts, but none have approached the thoroughness of this build by Waterloo Labs.

They have outfitted four go-karts with microcontrollers, servo-controlled throttle control, RFID readers, pneumatic steering control, and a pneumatic-powered item launcher.

As the drivers race, they can pick up item boxes hanging from a rope above them. Each item is embedded with an RFID tag. When an item is used, the onboard electronics respond accordingly. For example, a mushroom disengages the throttle governor, allowing the driver to go faster, or if a driver is unfortunate enough to hit a banana the pneumatic steering kicks in and sets him/her topsy turvy all over the track.

If you want more info on this project, check out more details on Waterloo Labs’ site.

[via The Creators Project]


In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

View more articles by Michael Colombo