Alt.SXSW: Tron Light Cycles Realized

Arduino Fun & Games Technology
Alt.SXSW: Tron Light Cycles Realized

YouTube player

MAKE alt.SXSW content badgeThe concept for frog’s SXSW interactive opening party involved a  number of classic video games made physical to a greater or lesser extent.  My personal favorite was their take on the Tron light cycle duel, which I got a chance to play today at Austin Dorkbot’s SXSW Create event. (For purists, I should note that their implementation of the game allows for smoothly-radiused turns, instead of just sharp 90-degree cornering, so it’s more like the version of the game we saw in the 2010 Tron: Legacy remake.)

frog personnel Matt, Pat, and Jared worked together to create a “physical” version of the game, starting with two stationary exercise bikes.  Each was retrofit with an Arduino, a tachometer, a mechanical hand brake, and a set of steerable handlebars.  In play, two contestants direct their “Light Trikes”  by steering with the handlebars and peddling faster or slower to control speed.  Each contestant sits before a large monitor with a third-person view of his or her trike, in the digital arena, while an overhead “God’s eye” view is projected on a screen between them for onlookers.

The basic rules, of course, haven’t changed: Run these guys into your jet walls.

Light Trikes at South by SouthWest

Make: Projects — Tron Bag with EL Wire

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).