Slot-car racing system Scalextric, owned by Hornby Hobbies Ltd, is set to bring smartphone and tablet app racing to its model cars using Bluetooth Smart wireless technology from Nordic Semiconductor.
By buying any one of three plug-and-play track accessories, users will be able to add race statistics and functionality using a free Scalextric-developed app that includes race type, driver names, number of laps and times, fastest lap, fuel levels, tire wear levels and throttle response. Users can also post their race stats on Facebook and Twitter and compare results with friends online.
The Scalextric slot-car division of Hornby Hobbies Ltd has specified Nordic nRF51822 SoCs to provide Bluetooth Smart wireless connectivity in its brand new Scalextric RCSTM (Race Control System), which recently won a prestigious 'Best New Toys 2014' award at the London Toy Fair.
Scalextric RCSTM comprises three 'Powerbase' plug-and-play track accessories: the entry-level analog RCS OneTM (wired), the medium-level RCS AirTM (wireless) and the top-end digital RCS ProTM (wireless), allowing users to wirelessly create and manage races via an app running on a compatible Bluetooth Smart Ready device. A list of approved devices is online at www.scalextric.com/RCS. The accompanying app is downloadable from both Apple’s App Store for iPhone and iPad and the Google Play store for Android devices.
Scalextric has also developed Hand Throttle wireless controllers that employ proprietary Nordic nRF24LE1 2.4GHz SoCs to provide the wireless connectivity between the controller and the Powerbase track accessory.
"Since the launch of the Scalextric brand in 1957, we have amassed a significant consumer base, with millions of Scalextric products having been sold throughout the world," said Dale Luckhurst, marketing manager at Scalextric. "With the addition of a single Powerbase track, existing consumers can suddenly bring their Scalextric straight into the 21st century with racing features and statistics that even a few years ago would have been considered impossible to achieve on a mass-market consumer toy product."
Darren Nye, Scalextric product development manager, said, "Importantly for us, this includes our customers being able to use their existing slot cars without any costly or indeed complicated modifications or upgrades. Instead of having a toy that plugs into an app, we have an app that plugs into an existing much-loved toy to make it even more fun and exciting to use."
"With the advent of Bluetooth Smart technology," said Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's director of sales and marketing, "it has never been easier to develop wireless toys at mass-market price points by leveraging the computing power, user interface, and display simplicity of an ever-increasing number of Bluetooth Smart Ready smartphones and tablets that consumers will already own and so can use and enjoy at no extra cost. That's a win-win for both the toy industry and consumers."
Scalextric RCSTM will be available later this year and available from all major toy retailers worldwide or direct from Scalextric at www.scalextric.com/RCS.