From games like Wii Tennis to accessories like the Wii Balance Board, Nintendo has mad it possible to turn its consoles into fitness devices to help gamers get active. But hardware hacker Mike Choi may have just come up with the ultimate way to stay fit with the Switch by turning Mario Kart 8 Deluxe into a full-body workout.
Among Nintendo fans, Mike Choi is best known for helping to create the FlipGrip: a $US12 ($15) accessory that allows the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers to be attached to either side of the console while it’s in portrait mode to improve the gameplay experience of vertical mode games like pinball. Choi is also known for his creative console hacks, but the Labo Fit Adventure Kart is undoubtedly his most ambitious creation to date.
The hack pairs the Switch console and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with the Ring Fit Adventure workout accessory, elements of the cardboard Nintendo Labo kits, a full-on exercise bike, and a custom-designed and engineered component called the TAPBO. An optical sensor on the exercise bike keeps track of how many times the pedals rotate, and that data is used to control acceleration in the game. If the speed of pedalling drops below a certain RPM, the player’s character stops accelerating in the game.
More complicated is how the Ring Fit Adventure accessory is used as a steering wheel and a way to use items in the game like shells and banana peels. The custom TAPBO accessory Choi created features a set of tiny servo-controlled robotic arms that actually press physical buttons on an attached Joy-Con controller. The spooning TAPBO and Joy-Con are then attached to the Ring Fit Adventure accessory, which translates turning motions into steering in the game, while squeezing motions are used to either fire items or hold them behind your cart for protection.
Choi spent around six months designing and perfecting the Labo Fit Adventure Kart, which was realised without actually modding or hacking any of Nintendo’s hardware. It’s all made possible through the TAPBO accessory he created, so hopefully Nintendo won’t make any attempts to have this video taken down like it has recently done with other hackers sharing their work on YouTube. And as perfect as the setup seems as we move into another year of responsibly staying at home as much as possible, Choi currently has no plans to put this prototype hardware into production or sell it to other gamers.