Your Living Room Becomes Next Mario Kart Course

RomoCart, Indoor Robot Racing

[Ken] likes his living room and he is on a continual mission to make it more interesting. Recently, he has made a giant leap forward with a racing game project he calls RomoCart. Think of it as a partially-physical game of Mario Kart. You are able to race others around a track while still having the ability to fire projectiles or drop defensive measures in efforts to win the race!

First, lets talk about the hardware required. The racers are standard Romo educational robots. Wireless game controllers provide the means for the drivers to control the Romos. Hanging from the ceiling is an Xtion motion sensing camera and a video projector, both pointed down at the floor.

To get started, the system scans the floor and determines a race course based on the room layout and any physical objects in the vicinity. A course is then generated to avoid the obstacles and is projected onto the floor. At this point it would still be a pretty neat project but [Ken] went way further. The ceiling-mounted camera tracks the motion of the Romos driving around the track and the video projector displays a smoke trail behind each racer. Randomly displayed on the track are items to help you win the race, including an acceleration item that makes your Romo go twice as fast for a short time.

Have a tailgater? No problem, just pick up some bananas and drop them on the track. If a following competitor drives into one, they spin out. If you want to get super rude, pick up some missiles and fire them at the racers ahead of you. A direct hit will stop them right in their tracks.

[Ken] is no stranger to HaD, he’s had a few of his projects covered here before. Check out his Tempescope, Moving Window and his Autonomous Lighting System.

Check out a video of the racing in action after the break. It is amazing!

12 thoughts on “Your Living Room Becomes Next Mario Kart Course

  1. That is a neat hack except for the fact that Romo abandoned their first gen kickstarter romos, and if you didn’t have an Iphone you basically got the middle finger. I know I was a backer with an android phone.

  2. THIS IS AWESOME. What a cool combination of technologies.

    My local Old Navy has a little projector game system for kids to play with. It shows some various scenes on the ground and they can interact with it (kicking a projected soccer ball around, etc). Using the robots makes a nice addition : )

  3. Oh man… I can’t wait for them to release the source code so people without iPhones and Romos and whatnot can adapt it to control some other manner of R/C vehicle. Because holy-shit-wow that dynamic track creation feature is mind-blowing. I can’t remember the last time I saw something like that in a COMMERCIAL PRODUCT, let alone something that isn’t even an ‘indie game’, but just some hardware/software hackery some folks were playing around with!!! I can’t even describe how impressive I thought that was. :o

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