Someone's discovered the nerdiest use for a Chevy Volt: Plugging the whole thing into a game of Mario Kart for Nintendo 64.
Gordon Hlavenka posted his son Dan's hack on YouTube last year, but it's only really getting the attention it deserves now. Dan and his team won a series of awards at Hackathon Illinois 2016 with their project, first done on a Honda CR-V. "We only bricked the car twice," they wrote on their entry page.
Back home, Dan plugged a Raspberry Pi microcomputer into the on-board diagnostics port of his dad's Volt, and ran Mario Kart in a N64 emulator on a laptop perched atop the dashboard.
"My kid likes to play with computers," Hlavenka wrote on a Volt message board under the name Crash Gordon. "A while back he (and a couple of friends) won a hacking competition by rerouting the OBD2 port in a Honda CR-V to a Nintendo 64 emulator and playing Mario Kart, using the CR-V's steering wheel, accelerator, and brakes. When he came home for Easter I made him port it over to the Volt."
There's no reverse functions, but everything else is true-to-life from car to game: The steering, accelerator and brakes all do what they're supposed to do. Flashing the car beams make it hop.
It's a brave dad that lets his son plug a laptop into his car, trusting that the first stomp on the gas won't send them straight through the garage door. But in this case, it was fortunately a smooth ride.
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