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RomoCart uses an overhead a pico projector and RGB depth sensor allowing users to play AR games (via 河本の実験室)

 

Romo debuted back in 2011 and has since gone through several revisions, giving it a more sleek design with better mobility. For those who don’t already know what Romo is, it’s a mobile dock from Romotive with tank-like treads that uses an iPhone as its brain, essentially turning the smartphone into an interactive robot. While using the iPhone for a robot is great in itself, a pair of Japanese hackers (Ken Kawamoto and Tomoaki Akitomi) has taken it to an all-new level by turning it into an AR gaming platform. Their RomoCart works with an overhead RGB depth sensor and pico projector that turns the room it’s in into an AR game suspiciously similar to Nintendo’s Mario Kart.

 

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The RomoCart uses its RGB depth sensor to map the layout of obstacles and the position of other robots.

 

The gaming platform works by using the RGB sensor to scan the location of both floor obstacles in the room and generates an optimal racetrack, which is then displayed using the pico projector. The platform tracks other players as well using the sensor and projects the game environment based on their location. Just like Mario Kart, objects such as power-ups are positioned on the AR track that can boost speed, fire projectiles and even drop bananas to make others spin-out and wreck. The RomoCart gaming platform isn’t currently available for those interested in replicating it, however the pair plans to release the source code when they can get around to it sometime in the future.


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An ASUS Xtion sensor was used to garner the information the RomoCart needs to map-out the track.