What could be better than LEGO Mario? How about combining LEGO Mario with LEGO SPIKE Prime?!? We connected the SPIKE motors to Technic treads and put regular LEGO bricks on them (we also added some action bricks for more fun), making our own conveyor belt Mario course! We learned a lot, and also had lots of fun along the way!
In a previous article, we introduced you to LEGO Interactive Mario, and some of his features. Today we will use that set, the SPIKE Prime, and some other LEGO Technic pieces to build a revolving course for Mario to play on.
How it Works
We used a SPIKE Prime touch sensor to allow Mario to let SPIKE know when he is ready to start the course. We attached the touch sensor to a plate with the start and end action bricks (to start and end the game). When he pushes down the plate it will start/end the game and start/stop the tracks. You can play over and over again by pressing the touch sensor multiple times. It is super fun to make Mario bounce around the track to collect coins!
We decided to use Scratch to program our simple Mario conveyor belt game. Our code is shown below with comments to help explain what each block does.
We attached big LEGO treads (piece number 88323) to create to loops to make the track for Mario. We also used a mix of half beam connectors (piece 32002) and brick connectors (piece 4274) to connect the treads to the bricks using the holes in the treads. To learn more about other types of connectors check out Connectors: Do Colors Matter?. For the bricks that Mario will walk on, we used the same colors that LEGO uses for base plates in the Mario Starter Course (red, blue, yellow, and green). We could then attach power-ups to the bricks, but we had to be careful to not make them too tall. They only had so much clearance when it looped around the bottom. We used special tread wheels (piece 57519) to turn the treads.
A zoom of the side of one of the tread loops…
We decided to use two tread loops so Mario had more space to run and could decide to move left and right along the track.
You can see above that we connected the tread wheels to a small SPIKE Prime motor to control its rotation.
The Track in Action
It was super rewarding to have so much fun playing with Mario after building the track.
Here is a video of Mario with our track in action. He is actually running backwards in our video because we wanted you to be able to see his face and chest detail, along with the obstacles and power-ups he is encountering. But, Mario is pretty talented; he had no trouble running backwards for us!
We used the SPIKE Prime, but you could use LEGO Mindstorms motors and sensors as well. We are considering expanding our design by adding a way to use motors and touch sensors to control Mario’s own movements on the track with a ‘remote like’ style instead of using your hands. If you have any ideas for more fun with Mario, please contact us.
We hope that you had fun reading this article!