Physical Web RC Car Game

Arduino Makers - Physical Web RC Car Game

Made with Arduino Primo

arduino Primo

Authors |

Click to enlarge image PhysicalWebRCCar_1.jpg

Physical Web RC Car Game - Makers project made with Arduino Primo


This project is a bachelor thesis done by four students of electrical engineering at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The project utilizes the nRF52 Development Kit (DK for short) from Nordic Semiconductor, which is a versatile single-board development kit for Bluetooth® Smart, ANT and 2.4GHz proprietary applications. It is hardware-compatible with the Arduino Uno Revision 3 standard, so it enables the use of 3rd-party shields that conform to this standard. Our goal was to make several Bluetooth Smart controlled cars that could play a game of laser tag against each other as well as receive random power ups by driving over RFID tags.

One of the central ideas of this project is that the user can utilize the Physical Web to connect to our cars. Physical Web is a concept in development by google, that allows small Bluetooth Smart units (for example a toy) to advertise their presence by sending out a Eddystone URL. Handheld devices can get a notification that a Physical Web beacon is nearby, and if the user enters the broadcasted URL they can interact with the unit (toy) that advertised the URL. This way they can get the choice to control and interact with the toy without downloading an app.

The cars are built using a prefabricated kit designed for Arduino and other microcontrollers. We also made car bodies that goes over the cars using vacuum forming, and 3D-printed parts to attach various peripherals.


What have you made?

We have built several radio controlled cars using Bluetooth Smart that are able to play laser tag against each other.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

This project was a bacelor thesis given by Nordic Semiconductor, and the task at hand was making a toy that could be controlled by using the Physical Web and Bluetooth Smart. The toy could be anything, and after careful consideration we chose to make a toy that would be fun and easy to use. We therefore chose to create a laser tag game which every member of the group was a big fan of.

What is the original idea behind this project?

We wanted to make a fun game to demonstrate the capabilities of the Physical Web and Bluetooth Smart technologies.

How does it work?

Step one: The car advertises an Eddystone URL

Step two: Through this URL the user gets directed to a web page where they can connect to the car and play a laser tag game with others. Singleplayer mode is also available.

Step three: The game starts, and in a multiplayer game each player has a set of lives that they lose if they are hit. By driving over various RFID tags they can get random power ups such as rapid fire, speed boost, extra lives and a temporary shield.

How long did it take to make it real?

We started to plan the project in january, setting up a detailed time table. In february we started to order parts and work on the project itself. The cars drove in late february and alle the functions were implemented in late april.

How did you build it?

The cars are built on a 4WD chassis kit consisting of two acrylic plates, four DC motors and wheels. The nRF52 Development Kit was the basis of our project and what we built everything around. We used Motor Shield v2.3 from Adafruit to drive the motors, and NFC/RFID shield from Adafruit to be able to detect nearby RFID tags and thereby realize the power up functionality. For the infrared signals we used infrared emitters and receivers as ready soldered modules on small PCBs with header pins to connect +V, GND and Signal. We also included RGB LEDs and a piezo speaker to give visual and audible feedback to the user. Lastly we added a laser diode as an aiming device for the infrared emitter.

The nRF52 Development Kit used in this project can be interchanged with the new Arduino Primo, this opens for utilizing the vast vault of code examples ammased in the Arduino community. Moreover, the Physical Web RC Car Game was presented in May 2016 at Maker Faire Bay Area using the new Arduino Primo board.