Design Engineering

NI creates real world Mario Kart

By Design Engineering Staff   

Automation National Instruments

National Instrument’s Waterloo Labs recreates video game console favorite complete with power-ups.

Anyone who’s played a video game in the last 20 years has taken a lap or two on Nintendo’s Mario Kart. Not content with waiting for the next instalment of the long-running racing game franchise, the engineers at National Instrument’s Waterloo (Texas, that is) Labs decided to create their own real-world version. In addition to actual go-karts, the team also worked in a few must-haves including the ability to throw banana peels and turtle shells to make your opponents’ cars careen out of control to absorbing the power of mushrooms and stars on the track to accelerate your vehicle.

Of course, the team at Waterloo Labs used NI CompactRIO hardware to control all of the valves and servos in the system and to communicate with all of the other cars in the race. Using information received from RFID tags embedded in the items picked up on the track, the CompactRIO device determines which action to perform on the vehicle, such as braking, accelerating, or turning.



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