Anki: The next evolution in toy car racing

Checkered Flag

Three, two, one, go! The checkered flag waves and you’re off, edging your way to the inside of the track and heading toward the finish line. But oh no! Your car has flown off the track, run out of batteries, or crashed into another car. Your race is done.

Toy car races have been around for a long time. From slot car racing sets and Hot Wheels tracks to remote-controlled cars and racing video games, kids (and adults) have always loved racing each other. Now, the next step in the toy car evolution is here. Let’s take a closer look.

About Anki: Augmented reality racing

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Anki is a San Francisco startup company that raised $50 million to bring you robot toy cars controlled by your iPhone. Each racing kit comes with a starter track, two cars and charging pods. You can add on more track, extra cars, and a few other special accessories.

Load the app onto your iPhone, set up the track, and start racing. The cars can race each other on their own, but the fun part is the competition. You can tell your car what to do, shoot digital weapons, and outpace your opponents, all with your phone. It’s bringing together the best parts of physical and digital gaming.

This isn’t your Hot Wheels set

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The track snaps together easily with magnets, so you can build it out as large as you want, with different twists and turns. You no longer have to go through the painstaking task of trying to figure out which pieces connect and why you always seem to be missing one. This means no more yelling, crying, or sighs of frustration as your kids (or friends) beg you to hurry up.

The cars are covered in tiny sensors that enable them to check their position on the track, know where the other cars are on the road, and follow your directions. They check their position 500 times per second, making them competitive and smart. The cars also have weapons. Don’t bother steering your car (it does that for you) – instead, attack your friends’ cars with machine guns, tractor beams, and rail guns so you can get ahead. Watch their cars spin out on the track and cheer along with the sound effects as you victoriously cross the finish line.

Having fun yet?

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While it’s fun to reminisce about the days of yesteryear when remote-controlled cars were all the rage, those old toys just can’t compare to today’s technology. Even though they could race, turn, and spin, none of them had weapons or computers to play against if all your friends were busy. Plus, you now can add jumps, overpasses, and other fun features to your track without worrying about your Hot Wheels flying all over the room or your mom telling you to turn off the track because it’s too loud.

Anki plans to revolutionize the robotics industry, starting with toys. They’re already creating more products that are sure to delight the inner child in us all.

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/2013/10/16/4841798/are-anki-cars-the-start-of-a-robot-revolution

http://kotaku.com/racing-into-the-future-with-phone-controlled-robot-cars-1737351072

 Photos by: Paul Baker, Juhan SoninTim Bartel

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