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This Arduino-powered rig puts you in the cockpit of an RC car

At the turn of the millennium, I fell in love with the RC car madness of Re-Volt. Now, two students have built a simulator that puts you right inside an actual RC car.

Robotics students Rafart Jordi and Marc Thomas went way beyond equipping a buggy with a camera. That’s an integral part of the build, but real magic is in the full-scale cockpit they built. It’s like they yanked the interior from a real dune buggy and wired it to control the RC racer.

Drivers climb in and take the wheel. Stomp on the gas pedal to accelerate. Hit the brakes to slow down. The Arduino Uno-equipped cockpit delivers a real racing experience by rocking the rig to reproduce every curve and bump the RC feels using a series of 24v motors. You have to see it in action to fully appreciate it:

It’s cool enough with a big-screen TV displaying the video, but wouldn’t this be amazing on a VR headset? Sure, you’re going to run out of room eventually, what with your Omni treadmill and whatnot, but still, the Arduino Car rig looks like an absolute blast and there are probably plenty of gamers — and racing fans — out there who would love to own something like this.

Who knows, eventually the Arduino Car rig could be used in situations like the gamers versus drivers race that Formula E is putting on during CES in Las Vegas next January. All that’s missing is something to simulate the heat and smells of the track.

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