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Bluetooth Smart wireless powers Scalextric slot-cars smartphone drive

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

In January 2014 Scalextric RCS won a ‘Best New Toys 2014’ award at the London Toy Fair.  

The Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 is a multi-protocol Bluetooth low energy / 2.4GHz proprietary RF Flash-based SoC that is designed specifically to be used as a single-chip solution for a range of Bluetooth low energy and 2.4GHz proprietary designs in cost, power, and size constrained applications including PC peripherals, connected TV remote controls, sports/fitness/healthcare sensors, toys, and automation.

Scalextric RCS comprises three ‘Powerbase’ plug and play track accessories – the entry-level analog RCS One (wired), the medium-level RCS Air (wireless), and the top-end digital RCS Pro (wireless) – allowing users to wirelessly create and manage races via an app running on a compatible Bluetooth Smart Ready device which is downloadable from either the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

The app supports all kinds of realistic race statistics and functionality – some of which will directly affect their slot car’s performance – including driver names, number of laps and times, fastest lap, fuel levels, tire wear levels, customized throttle response. Users can even post their race stats on Facebook and Twitter to compare results with friends online.  

In addition, Scalextric has developed (optional) ‘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, and (again optional) pit lanes.  

"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," explained 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."  

Nye added: "I also have to commend Nordic Semiconductor for the way in which they have supported us throughout the product development process. As a toy manufacturer, we are not used to designing high technology products and none of our engineers came from an electronics engineering background. So at first the idea of adding Bluetooth Smart functionality to our Scalextric slot-car range was a very challenging and ambitious project for us.  

"But with Nordic’s support and the obvious technological investment the company has made in minimizing unnecessary complexity when implementing Nordic’s Bluetooth Smart and 2.4GHz wireless chip solutions, we have succeeded in making Scalextric slot-car racing even more fun and exciting than ever before."  

Scalextric RCS will be available later this year and available from all major toy retailers worldwide.

Related articles and links:

www.scalextric.com/RCS

www.nordicsemi.com

News articles:

Nordic Semiconductor launches world’s first concurrent ANT+ and Bluetooth low energy combo chip

System-on-chip enables ultra-low-power wireless solutions

ARM partners Nordic Semiconductor to develop Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled devices

Bluetooth low energy toolbox eases development on Android


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