Waterloo Labs is named after Waterloo, TX, the original city name of Austin. Waterloo Labs was founded by four engineers at National Instruments with a lot of hardware, a little extra time, and a desire to engineer awesome. We want to create cowboy engineering projects and share them with the world. Our projects hack everyday technologies in new and interesting ways. We started with firework and sounds, but quickly moved on to firearms and video games, full-size automobiles and iPhones, and biomedical signals and NES. We would love to hear your ideas and incorporate them into our next project. Feel free to shoot us a tweet at @WaterlooLabs.
Waterloo Labs is mostly made of electrical and mechanical engineers, but we also work with artists, students, and tinkerers of all sorts.
Doug ME Georgia Tech
Will EE Michigan
Stephen ME Texas
Hunter ECE Baylor
Tim ME University of Rochester
Peter EE Lehigh University
Humphrey MSEE Columbia
Dylan EE UTSA
Waterloo Labs has never been too concerned with practicality. Our projects are about doing things that have never been done before by connecting everyday technologies in new and interesting ways. While almost every project we do could serve a useful purpose with minor modification, our goal is to make science, technology, engineering, and math fun for the whole Internet!
In this project, we could either keep our head still and move our eyes, or keep our eyes locked on the screen and turn our head. When you look left, your eye moves right relative to your head. All we had to do was reverse the look direction in software and we could change the mode. Turning the head left and right was easier and less disorienting than moving your eyes, but we found that jerking your neck up and down was less forgiving.
Nope, we just make these things for fun. Generally speaking, we make them in a hurry so most of our systems are not super durable or practical. Our goal is to show what you can do by combining simple and common technologies in complex and interesting ways. We give away our source code and plans, so you can use it as a starting point and create something even cooler.
Unfortunately we were only able to rig up the karts temporarily at Austin’s Park in Austin, TX, so there is no permanent setup. Our goal is to inspire others to create their own systems. We'd be happy to help you build your own, just contact us.
For the banana item, we used plastic fruit and duct taped the RFID card inside the bunch. The first car to come into range with the RFID must hold the item in their kart for two seconds in order for it to be activate. Once the bananas are activated, the next kart to come into range will have the steering locked to one side using a hydraulic piston.
Tim is from New Jersey. He talks funny. What are you going to do?
Yes, each player drives their own kart like in a normal race. Each item gives a bonus or punishment. For instance, the mushroom unlocked 100% throttle (normally 75%) for five seconds, and the bananas lock your steering to one side for three seconds.