One Chevy Volt owner has gotten creative with his car, using a variety of tech and a bit of know-how to turn the vehicle into a big, expensive controller for Mario Kart 64. The entire creation involves a Raspberry Pi connected to a laptop running an emulator, as well as to the car’s OBD-II port. Everything runs perfectly, though controlling the game involves using the windshield wipers and flashing the headlights.
The work was done by self-described hacker and programmed Adam Ringwood, who runs the website ‘AvidHacker.’ Posting on that site, Ringwood explains that this bit of hackery won him and his friends the HackIllinois event, which has been ongoing since 2014. If you’re not interested in the finer details, check out the video below to see the ‘controller’ in action.
To get all this working, the team used an OBD-II cable, a PiCAN2 and Raspberry PI, which read the vehicle’s CAN bus data, and a laptop, as well as some tools called Cansniffer and Candump. Using these items, the team was able to get access to the vehicle’s diagnostic data, among other things, and make some determinations about which car parts were correlated with various bits of the hex.
The data was sent to the same laptop we see in the video running the Nintendo 64 emulator with a Mario Kart 64 ROM. In the long write up detailing the creation process, Ringwood notes the particular difficulty of setting up the steering wheel to work in substitution of the Nintendo controller’s ‘left’ and ‘right’ directional buttons. The problem was eventually solved, and the end result is a steering mechanism described as ‘similar to driving an actual car.’