A new car racing game is bridging the real and the digital worlds. 3DRacers makes use of 3D printing, Arduino-based electronics and smartphone control. Users can design their own cars, 3D print them at home or via 3D Hubs, customize their performance and control them via a mobile app.
3DRacers are basically just Bluetooth-controlled cars. Users can design the main portion of their car using an online tool offering over 100,000 design variations or they can create completely new types of cars using an open-source template, along with the circuit board and components provided.
Once a user has designed their car, they can either download the .STL file and print it off using a home 3D printer or they can send it to one of the 3D Hubs network 3D printing locations, where they can collect it at a later date.
The cars feature an open source Arduino-based circuit board, the schematics of which are planned for release, and that can be programmed via a USB link. The board can can control up to two motors and three servomechanisms. It has an embedded LED, an infra-red receiver/transmitter, a battery charger and a custom-made gate/position detector. It is designed to be small and efficient in its power use.
Users can control the cars with either a mobile app for iOS and Android or a separate controller that can also be 3D printed in part. Up to 1,000 individuals can apparently play together at once, although the logistics of that may be problematic. The car batteries are said to last for 30 minutes on a full charge.
Players can compete in "sim" mode that is a standard racing simulation with warm-ups, pit-stops, fuel consumption and tire-wear. Alternatively, there is a "battle" mode in which players must inflict virtual damage on each other and which features power-ups and weapons. It is possible to use the cars on surfaces such as carpets or to use an official mat that can be augmented with 3D-printed or paper elements.
An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is underway for 3DRacers. At the time of writing, individuals can pledge from US$49 for a barebones kit with home printing or from $65 for the same kit but with 3D Hubs printing.
The video below is the Indiegogo pitch for 3DRacers.
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