Bridging the gap between the virtual world and the real world is a popular topic these days. Augmented reality, Google Cardboard, and games like Skylanders are just a few products that allow us to interact in both the physical and virtual. Now, 3DRacers hope to send your Mario Kart addiction into the real world.
3DRacers are 3D printed race cars that you can customize for free with their online editor. Once you have downloaded and printed your design, the electronics are a snap. The 3DRacer team has created an Arduino compatible control board that fits into your racer, allowing it to be driven with your smart phone using the on board BTLE radio. In the future, your 3DRacers will need to make pit stops for virtual tire changes and fuel ups as additional features are added to the control apps. You’ll also be able to upload your racing stats and prowess to the web, tracking lap counts and race times.
The 3DRacer board, named the 3DRacers Pilot, packs a lot of features into the little car. Two motor drivers power the DC drive motors (only one is needed for the basic operation, the second is for later expansion). The battery is charged over USB with a built-in LiPo charger. The car can detect the finish line, as well as when it enters the pits with the help of an IR gate sensor. Everything is tied together by the brains of the board, an Atmega32u4, the same chip found on the Arduino Leonardo.
Don’t worry though – if you don’t have a 3D printer, you can still join the race. 3DRacers teamed up with 3DHubs to be their official print parter. This partnership will help make the racers immediately available across the world when they launch. The crowd funding campaign is set to launch on February 2nd with electronics kits starting at $49 and full racers coming in at $75.