Connecting the Real and Virtual Toy World with NFC
  • Connecting the Real and Virtual Toy World with NFC
  • Connecting the Real and Virtual Toy World with NFC
  • Connecting the Real and Virtual Toy World with NFC
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Connecting the Real and Virtual Toy World with NFC

Toy manufacturer Mattel is expanding a toy racetrack system via NFC integration into a digital, mixed-play – real and virtual – car racing game.

NFC technology integrated in toy cars creates the interaction options between the game and digital app-based applications.

Mattel is the second largest toy manufacturer in the world after Lego. The company, headquartered in El Segundo, California, employs over 31,000 people in 42 countries. Products are available in more than 150 states.

Process Requirements

On Hot Wheels race tracks, races can be simulated with suitable toy cars. In addition to numerous different vehicles, the toy system also includes the possibility of designing racing tracks individually. Mattel was looking for a technological implementation to enhance the car racing game, offer new game design options and make racing results comparable.


  • Virtual representation and comparison of real race results
  • Building a virtual garage
  • Digital networking with other players


The solution developed by Mattel consists of a total of three components:

  1. 1:64 scale cars, which are labeled with an NFC transponder underneath. The transponder stores the game-related, virtual performance data of each vehicle, as well as a unique identification number.
  2. A portal serves as an interface for capturing and storing the cars in the app and for tracking the speed reached. The racing portal counts laps via infrared sensors and is connected to the conventional, non-digital race track.
  3. An app – available for iOS and Android – for recording the NFC-tagged cars in a virtual garage via the NFC interface of a corresponding smartphone.

Technology Partner

Hardware & Software

  • NXP Semiconductors – NFC-IC


  • Race results become digitally comparable
  • Race tracks can be displayed virtually
  • Virtual garages can be maintained online

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