Posts tagged "hardware"

Using your car as a giant joystick for $20

Mon 18 December 2017

A car rigged to play videogames with a projector pointed at a wall

DISCLAIMER: Cars can be dangerous. The electrical and mechanical systems of a car are not designed for this use case, and you run the risk of damaging them. This project worked fine for this particular vehicle, but could damage critical systems such as steering and braking in a different model. Do not attempt this with a vehicle that isn't yours, or a vehicle that would leave you with no contingency if it were to break. The author will not be held accountable for any damage caused from following these instructions.

This project is about how to rig the controls of nearly any recent car (in my case a 2007 edition Mazda 3) to act as a giant game controller. In a nutshell; input from the car will be scraped as CANbus messages from a cheap OBD-II adapter, then converted to standard joystick and keyboard events, which will be used to drive a video game projected onto a screen in front of the windshield. No physical modifications to the car are required; the only one I made was to pull the fuses for the headlights so as not to blind the projector screen.

The full source code used for the above demo is available at GitHub. With luck, anyone with entry-level Python experience should be able to adapt this for their car. I think this is a nice practical introduction to car hacking and reverse engineering, without the need to spend a lot on exotic debugging hardware.

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