Mario Kart research project brings classic racing game and power-ups to the real world

Technology research group Waterloo Labs has re-created the classic racing of Mario Kart in the real world, making everything from shell-shooting to power-ups a reality.

The Texas-based team temporarily rigged up the karts in the state's Austin's Park after developing a system that used electric motors, micro-processors and RFID tags to help translate gameplay to a real-world track. The project features real go-karts, stars, shells, track obstacles and even chain chomps.

The ruggedized micro-processors are installed into the go-karts, along with a pressure system that shoots shells and servo motors that, using the micro-processor, can track what is run over or collected and responds appropriately. Running over a banana peel causes the kart to swivel on the track, for example, while collecting a star makes the kart go faster.

While the team does not plan to make this a permanent installation, "all of the designs and code are available and WLL would be thrilled to help someone set up a system just like it," they state.

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