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AIR for Android Wireless Slot Car Gas Pedal

Posted on June 15, 2010 by Grant Skinner

Recently I’ve been trying to carve out more time to play with technology – something I’d been neglecting sorely, despite constant admonitions (1, 2) to others to always make time to play.

One of the first results of this is a library for creating peer to peer LAN connections between AIR applications, with a strong focus on mobile to desktop applications. I’ll go into more depth about the LAN library in a future post, but for now I wanted to share something I built on top of it… the Nexus One Wireless Slot Car Gas Pedal.

Check it out in the following video:

To summarize: The generic mobile client connects over the LAN to the desktop app. The desktop app sends it a “surface” SWF which contains all of the graphics and logic for the interaction (allowing the host to dictate the experience). The mobile client then sends accelerometer data to the host, which interprets the data, and sends back commands to update the client UI. The host communicates with a Phidgets motor controller, which controls the speed of the cars. And yes, it supports multiple connections (limited to 2 in this case because that’s how many cars I have).

I’ll be sharing a few other experiments I’ve built exploring some of these ideas in the near future, as well as more info on the LAN connection code (which I will likely open source if there is sufficient demand to justify cleaning it up and documenting it).

Here’s a photo of the original control system, which used a servomotor to replicate physically squeezing the trigger on the slot car controller:

And here’s what the harness looks like when you have two hands free to put the phone in it properly:

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30 Comments

Nice work! Can the Nexus One vibrate too (and can you tap into this via ActionScript)? Haven't an Android phone yet alas :'-(

Posted by: Wayne McManus on Jun 15, 2010 10:21am URL: http://www.coderkind.com

niiiiiiiice!

Posted by: George Profenza on Jun 15, 2010 10:22am

Brilliant.

Posted by: Paras on Jun 15, 2010 10:28am URL: http://www.iris-digital.com

Wicked cool!

Posted by: Lee Graham on Jun 15, 2010 10:43am URL: http://L33.me

Amazing! I'm interesting in the LAN library.

Posted by: miguelMoraleda on Jun 15, 2010 12:25pm URL: http://as3.miguelmoraleda.com

This is the future! Thanks for the share

Posted by: Eric Fickes on Jun 15, 2010 12:28pm URL: http://ericfickes.com

This is ACTUALLY N-E-R-D! Lmao :D

Posted by: Pierluigi Pesenti on Jun 15, 2010 2:30pm URL: http://blog.oaxoa.com/

Grant - I think there will definitely be a call for the lan library - it would be highly beneficial.

Can you comment on your notion of a surface swf ? I take it you are trying to control your phone via your lan - how does this work ?

Regards,

Aristo.

Posted by: Aristophrenia on Jun 15, 2010 6:13pm

Kudos for having TTs race around the track ;)

Posted by: Scott (@endoplasmic) on Jun 15, 2010 11:34pm URL: http://www.mxprojects.com

love the lego use also.

Posted by: jkaris on Jun 16, 2010 4:52am URL: http://kafkaris.com

Agreed with Pierluigi: N-E-R-D!

Outstanding!

CaioToOn!

Posted by: CaioToOn! on Jun 16, 2010 6:32am

Amazing! The video rendered me speechless!

Posted by: Mark Starling on Jun 16, 2010 7:06am URL: http://markstar.co.uk/blog/

I love that your iPhone is sitting all lonely and forgotten in the background of that last photo :)

Posted by: Jason MacDonald on Jun 16, 2010 7:42am

Best use of Lego's + Servo's in a while lol. Nice work grant.

Posted by: JTtheGeek on Jun 16, 2010 11:43am URL: http://www.dedoose.com

I submitted this to the Hack-a-Day blog: http://hackaday.com/2010/06/16/careful-that-gas-pedal-is-a-nexus-one/

Posted by: Michael Hoskins on Jun 17, 2010 9:11am

Groundbreaking, man! Do you have a patent, already? :)

Posted by: Chris Kepinski on Jun 18, 2010 5:21am URL: http://kkepinski.com

thats fun...useless for me since i'm not slotcar driving but seems to be fun...but you may share the coding with us which would it make even more interesting...

Posted by: pheno on Jun 18, 2010 10:01am

God dammit. Couldn't you wait for us to catch up to your AS3 skills a little more before you start tackling everything else? Amazing.

Posted by: Scott Gibson on Jun 18, 2010 8:49pm

Wow,

You are amazing n it is difficult to catch up with you as your pace in learning n experimenting is above extraordinary.

Posted by: laaptu on Jun 21, 2010 1:39am URL: http://laaptu.wordpress.com

Really interested in how you implemented a communication between Android and PC :)

Posted by: Sergej Jevsejev on Jun 21, 2010 3:33am URL: http://sjevsejev.blogspot.com

incredible !!!

:)

please open the lan library ...

Posted by: andy on Jun 25, 2010 6:35am URL: http://www.xe-media.ch/

Brilliant! Now you HAVE to get it working with Scalextric Digital, add a lane change 'button', lap time display...

Useful info here - http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10709

Posted by: SinclairZ on Jun 30, 2010 1:48pm

Amazing, I'd appreciate the LAN connection code =)

Posted by: sixtus on Jul 1, 2010 3:47am URL: http://sixtuslab.com

I have an Android Phone but I would have never thought of Putting it to such good use lol :D

Posted by: Sergiu on Jul 1, 2010 4:29am URL: http://www.sergiubirzu.com/

Just great!

I love it!

Posted by: Dourado on Jul 7, 2010 6:25am URL: http://www.jorgedourado.com

Great work. Can i ask you something? the connection you made between pc-mobile is with socket class?

Posted by: akis on Jul 16, 2010 3:17pm

I'm blown away by this use of technology. How did you ever think of slot car racing as a platform for your experiment? What's next control over my vacume cleaner?

Posted by: Frank T on Jul 25, 2010 7:24am URL: http://www.speedzonenj.com

You Rock man, I'm inspired on all you projects you done, possible to share you LAN Library and how to use that. Thank you very much man.

Posted by: Henr V. Mempin on Aug 1, 2010 10:56pm URL: http://henrymempin.multiply.com

you are awesome, sir.

Posted by: dillx on Feb 9, 2011 11:55am

pretty cool! looking forward to your approach on connecting the device to your PC. will you share any sources/hints?

had my first android tests today with the htc desire. great fun..

Posted by: Bop nam on Oct 28, 2011 7:20pm