Charity creates Xbox 360 controller out duct tape, Velcro and a bag of rice

AbleGamers Foundation creates working gamepad out of duct tape, Velcro and a bag of rice

Steve Spohn is wheelchair-bound, on a ventilator and can barely move because of muscular dystrophy, but he's still able to play video games. He participated in last week's Games for Health conference in Boston, where the AbleGamers Foundation hosted the Hardware Hackers Challenge, a contest to build a handicap-accessible game controller in under two hours.

The result was a very rough, but functioning prototype of an Xbox 360 controller that had buttons and joysticks that could be moved around and assigned functions.

To see a video report, click here.

"I think the controller itself is important because when you're disabled, sometimes you're bed-bound ... and really, video games are your escape and controllers allow you to get to them," said Spohn.

The prototype, built from Xbox 360 controller parts, duct tape, Velcro and a bag of rice, was designed with Spohn's limited range of motion in mind.

"The real benefit is that all these buttons are actually considered blank, so you can assign any function you want to them," said Adam Coe, president of Evil Controllers, an Arizona-based company that modifies existing controllers to bring more functionally and flexibility to gaming. "You can make them all the 'A' button, you can make them all the 'B' button, you can do whatever you want."

Coe helped build the controller along with Ben Heckendorn and Suzanne Papajohn.

The controller also included a T-shirt that had buttons in the shoulders so that when a user shrugs, buttons are activated.

Mark Barlet, CEO of AbleGamers, a public charity that advocates for disabled people to take advantage of digital entertainment, said that the shoulder-activated buttons weren't very reliable, but that it was "a step in the right direction."

The homemade controller is far from commercialization, but Spohn hopes it one day could come to market. "I hope it's the beginning of a well-polished product," he said.

"It's important for people like me to have access to the outside world," Spohn said. "And for some of us, that's through games."

Spohn can move his fingers, shrug his shoulders, speak and flex his calf. Barlet said Spohn is resistant to using sip-puff controllers, or mice you can control with your mouth, because "he feels like that's giving up."

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Nick Barber

IDG News Service

5 Comments

W

1

Quote: The prototype, built from !!!!Xbox 360 controller parts!!!!, duct tape, Velcro and a bag of rice, was designed with Spohn's limited range of motion in mind. [end quote]

Seems your title was entirely misleading.

M

2

I agree, the title was absolutely misleading.

DarthMalc

3

I agree that it was very misleading.
At best you should make it: Charity modifies Xbox 360 controller using duct tape, Velcro and a bag of rice.
That way it is still intriguing, but not misleading.
I'm only 18, but even I can see that journalism is going downhill, fast.

W

4

Indeed. This is just pathetic. Getting traffic by misleading people. Honestly, when I clicked on the article I thought, wow, maybe they have invented some weird way using chemistry to pull this off. It sounds far fetched, but I've heard weirder things in my life regarding science.
But no, it's just some jack-ass missing the fact that the guy also used controller parts...
I can also say I made an xbox360 controller only using wood! By placing it in a small box...

axl

5

you idiots are missing the entire point of this article.

putting a controller in a wood box and saying you made a new controller is by no means comparable to this company donating their time and expertise to help out an entire community of people whose (sometimes) only connection to the outside world and action-type activities is through video games.

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