Human adaptability is a hell of a thing, and one needs to look no further than quadriplegics who refuse to miss out. There are many quadriplegic gamers out there, and thanks to the work of Ken Yankelevitz, they’ve been able to enjoy a great deal of gaming for decades with his specially-designed joysticks.
However, Yankelevitz has been unable to continue his work due to age and health issues of his own, but the mantle has been picked up by Fred Davison, who is raising Kickstarter funds to develop the next generation of adaptive game controllers.
His case is compelling. “Video games today are as much about the social aspects as they are about presenting an intellectual puzzle or entertainment, and, developing a tool that would allow disabled gamers to play those games at a high level would allow them to more fully participate in that world,” he wrote.
He’s developed an ARM-based controller for quadriplegics called the QuadStick that’s comprised of a 3D-printed mouthpiece attached to a joystick and allows users to play any PS3 or PC game with just his their mouths. The device ostensibly replaces a game controller, mouse, and keyboard.
The device has three sip/puff tubes, a lip position sensor, X-Y position, and a push switch, as well as a bank of status LED to indicate sensor activation, active configuration profile, boot process, self test, and USB connection status on the front. The rear panel has USB connectors, 3mm input/output stereo jacks, a speaker for audio feedback, and an IR transmitter.
It also works with speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking and Windows Speech Recognition.
Here it is in action:
There are multiple forms of badassery at work here, from Yankelevitz’s groundbreaking work to Davison’s innovations to anyone who becomes an active gamer despite being able to use only their mouths for input.
Davison has five working prototypes, and he’s looking to raise $10,000 to start producing a small amount of working units--25 at first, with more to come thereafter. He’s over halfway there at press time with nearly a month to go.