You Can Use Your Chevy Volt to Play Mario Kart

However, it is not advisable to do this while driving.

Ever get the urge to pull out your old N64 and get to work on some Mario Kart? It was one of those iconic childhood games that we enjoyed playing with our friends, and now you can play it with your car as well. Yes, you read that right, with your car.

The project, called "Catch me if you CAN" (get it,? CAN, like CAN-Bus?), which initially was developed for a Honda CR-V, was adapted to Dan Hlavenka's (one of the project creators) father's Chevy Volt in the video below. Using a CAN-Bus compliant adapter, you can connect a development board like the Raspberry Pi to your car in order to get sensor output data.

The steering wheel controls the direction, real brakes control virtual brakes, windshield wipers control the special items, and the high beams control jumping the car.

The information gathered by the sensors is then converted in real-time into Python, a readable programming language for the Pi, by an accessory computer since the Pi is very limited in its hardware resources. The computer then takes one last step and sends the translated commands back into the emulator as controller input. You can watch as the player moves his Kart around the screen all while making the corresponding motions with his steering wheel.

The last line of the project reads, "we only bricked the car twice, and it seems to be recoverable". I don't know about you, but I would be afraid of making my $33,000 car into a paperweight that can't even fit on my desk. Luckily, the efforts were not at a loss, as it won three competitions:

  • a16z's (Andreessen Horowitz) Most Technically Challenging Hack
  • GE Digital's Best use of Natural User Interface
  • HackIllinois Top Hardware Hacks

Check out the video to see it in action: