AIR for Android Wireless Slot Car Gas Pedal

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:

30 Comments

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

  2. George Profenza June 15, 2010 at 10:22am

    niiiiiiiice!

  3. Amazing! I’m interesting in the LAN library.

  4. This is the future! Thanks for the share

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

  6. Aristophrenia June 15, 2010 at 6:13pm

    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.

  7. Kudos for having TTs race around the track ;)

  8. love the lego use also.

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

    Outstanding!

    CaioToOn!

  10. Amazing! The video rendered me speechless!

  11. Jason MacDonald June 16, 2010 at 7:42am

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

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

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

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. Wow,

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

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

  18. incredible !!!

    :)

    please open the lan library …

  19. 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

  20. Amazing, I’d appreciate the LAN connection code =)

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

  22. Just great!

    I love it!

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

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. you are awesome, sir.

  27. 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..

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