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How One Man Helps Keep Game Controllers Accessible

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the division-of-labor-limited-by-extent-of-market dept.

Hardware Hacking 130

capedgirardeau writes with a clipping from the AP about engineer Ken Yankelevitz: "[W]ith the retired Bozeman engineer's 70th birthday approaching, disabled gamers say they fear there will be no one to replace Yankelevitz, who has sustained quadriplegic game controllers for 30 years almost entirely by himself. The retired aerospace engineer hand makes the controllers with custom parts in his Montana workshop, offering them at a price just enough to cover parts." Yankelevitz builds interfaces to control an Xbox 360 or PlayStation.

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130 comments

Plenty to go around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414394)

Luckily they're canceling the space shuttle program so there'll be plenty of out of work aerospace engineers real soon! I'm sure at least one of them can fill the void.

Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414410)

Shouldn't this be something Microsoft and Sony should be doing anyway?

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414494)

Yes, but due to the dynamics of capitalism, they don't.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414618)

You know the disabled people have a good life when they're seen complaining about their choice of video game controllers ...

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414672)

What else are they going to complain about, a lack of wheelchair-accessible rock climbing harnesses?

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414678)

This is a quality of life issue, asshat.

Quads spend most of their time confined to a bed. A game controller build to meet their needs opens worlds of interactive entertainment to people who would otherwise be limited to passive consumption (television) or limited interaction via a visual keyboard.

captcha: network

And thats what these people gain: a greater network of human interaction. Shame on you for pissing on that.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415524)

Who was complaining? The choice is this guy custom making them a controller or nothing.

Thanks for the comment without having read the article.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415028)

Can you tell me why Microsoft and Sony should be building these controllers, and what specific "dynamics of capitalism" keeps them from doing so?

I don't see North Korea building these controllers for their people.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (2)

syockit (1480393) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415178)

Microsoft and Sony should build these controllers to increase their reputation, so that people will see them as "savior of the disabled". This gives them one extra chance to do massive evil.

The "dynamics of capitalism" is just market force. It doesn't have to be capitalism actually.

North Korea wouldn't be building these controllers (even if there are to be 360s sold there) as it isn't seen to be beneficial to the country, it's better for people to focus on work. All the funding needed to get the controller on the market is better off used for pleasing Dear Leader.

And North Korea is the best Korea!

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416798)

The argument that Microsoft and Sony should build these controllers to increase their reputation, but do not because of market forces seems contradictory to me.

In other words, Microsoft and Sony should NOT build these controllers because the cost to do so would outweigh the small increase to their reputation that would result. After all, companies commonly do charitable things to increase their reputation. So who do we blame when it stops being advantageous for them to do so? Most want to blame the companies. I blame all of us.

I think it is society's fault that these controllers are not built. Imagine if Sony and Microsoft did build these things. How many of us would be thinking, "gee, that is nice of them"? I know that I would not. I would most likely shrug, believing they were required to do so under some sort of Federal regulation.

Debate over things like ADA are for another time, but what I am trying to say is that obligatory charity cheapens voluntary charity, and that is hardly the fault of capitalism.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

Platinumrat (1166135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415792)

Can you tell me why Microsoft and Sony should be building these controllers, and what specific "dynamics of capitalism" keeps them from doing so?

I don't see North Korea building these controllers for their people.

What Sony, Microsoft, etc al... will do is: to tie up the controller interfaces with patents, so that even this guy would get sued into oblivion for trying to do the socially responsible thing.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36416802)

so that even this guy would get sued into oblivion for trying to do the socially responsible thing.

Where in the article (or any news reporting) does it say that this guy is being sued by Sony or Microsoft? Or even threatened? He was doing the socially responsible thing, and likely with the tactic support of those same companies. Reactionary politics, even when trying to support charity, has an underlying narrative of commonplace injustice. This comment would seem to be blowing a dog whistle to initiate a 'tort-reform' discussion, even if he didn't mean to.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415044)

Yeah, capitalism, that's what they practice.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (2)

Leuf (918654) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415118)

You would think that taking a loss on a thousand controllers per year would be worth a bit of positive press to compete with lots of negative press over things like rootkits and getting hacked. I mean can't you just see the "Sony cares" ads?

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415734)

Yeah, I can see the "Sony Cares" ad. . . it's right after the "Gore/Bigfoot 2012" ad during the Super Bowl.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36416398)

"Sony cares" = free identity theft protection after they get hacked and your shit gets stolen.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415706)

and also due the dynamics of capitalism, someone else fills in the void, in this case it's Mr. Yankelevitz.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415964)

He's selling them at cost. That's altruism, not capitalism, at work.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36416290)

If he is making the controllers at cost then he is working long hours without earning anything.
That is *not* capitalism.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

olivier69 (1176459) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414792)

Why is a manufacturer needed at all ? If I were quadriplegic, I'd build myself an appropriate controller. Oh, wait...

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415398)

Shouldn't this be something Microsoft and Sony should be doing anyway?

No it should be done by an entrepreneur who will fill a niche and make a living doing do. That's how capitalism is supposed to work. Expecting the behemoths to do so and then being snarky to them for not doing it shows your failure to understand capitalism and self-reliance.

Oh, wait, this is /. ........

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416374)

Shouldn't this be something Microsoft and Sony should be doing anyway?

No it should be done by an entrepreneur who will fill a niche and make a living doing do. That's how capitalism is supposed to work.

Bespoke engineering in small quantities would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit. It would be right up there with custom military equipment. At that price nobody would buy the units.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415482)

You're like (I used this example, because something similar really happened and is well-known):
Hey, that dude went to the back of his motor home to make a coffee *while on the freaking highway*, crashed, and now can't walk. So please support *him* the most! Because he's so awesome! I want him to have many many kids, and others therefore less! Give him the money and food, instead of others! So we all become like him!

I treat everyone the same. If that means someone has a harder life, then that's how it's supposed to be.

In a fair world, those who failed, have a harder life.
That's the sole and only cause of what we call natural selection.
If you remove that, then what's the point of not failing?
And what's the reward for working so hard to be successful every day?
Why don't I just race my bike into the next tree? I bet then you'd love to shovel money over to me.
Can you answer me that?

You're discriminating against just about every human being on the planet. And to me it is very important to be fair.

I don't call that fair. Why do you act like it's fair?

___
Posting as AC since 2010. Because the moderation system is deeply broken (since always).

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (3, Insightful)

siride (974284) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415890)

Why do you assume that all disabled people are that way because they made some stupid decision? Oftentimes, it's because some other person, like a drunk driver, made a stupid decision, but these people have to pay for it. But there's otherwise nothing wrong with them and there's no reason why they should be removed from the gene pool or made to suffer even more than they already are.

Also, you seriously misunderstand how evolution works. Removing a couple of obvious failures from the system doesn't necessarily produce a better gene pool. The genes for stupid behaviors are complex and varied, if they even exist at all, and many, if not most of us, are probably carriers. Furthermore, the stupid are themselves carriers for good genes. By only explicitly selecting the "good" and getting rid of all the undesirables, we not only fail to solve the problem, but we also destroy good genes as well as genetic diversity.

Social Darwinism doesn't work. Never did, never will.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416078)

I see a problem with your argument. It ca be found in just four words: "In a fair world." The world is not fair. The world sucks. The world is a place where you are perpetually just One Bad Day from death, crippling injury or financial ruin. A place where the very best of people could get hit by a drunk driver through no fault of their own, and the driver go on to win the lottery. The world does not care for our petty imaginings of fairness or what is right.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

captain_sweatpants (1997280) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416644)

Absolutely, the world ain't fair, but that doesn't mean we can't be. Actually it's an excellent reason for us to try our best.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

captain_sweatpants (1997280) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416640)

Evolution is not about progress, just adapting to conditions. In your ideal world the selfish would prosper, resulting in a society of assholes. What a wonderful future to aspire to!

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (2)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415602)

"Shouldn't this be something Microsoft and Sony should be doing anyway?"

The can't even be bothered to comply with the laws to make their websites usable by people with disabilities.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415654)

Many companies make right-handed ergonomic or gaming mice, but few make them for left handers. Lefties are about 10% of the population, and it isn't a big enough market for them to bother with. I don't know the percentage of quadriplegics, but I'd wager it's ay least 4 orders of magnitude less.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36416126)

Excuse me? Are you a communist? You certainly are not a good patriot! How could such a small target demographic of people who contribute little to the economy and rely on socialist services be worth making products for? Doesn't anybody think about the corporations?

Whoever finds sarcasm may keep it.

Re:Why is a third party manufacturer needed? (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416134)

Don't forget that in a world where console manufacturers were forced to make their consoles accessible to people with disabilities, there basically wouldn't be a Wii (or PS Move, or Kinect).

Until a few months ago, a friend of mine was dating a girl who worked as a therapist in a centre that helped people recover after "life changing" accidents or surgery - in other words, people who found themselves suddenly lacking (or at least lacking the use of) an arm, a leg or more. They didn't take younger kids - that's a field that requires its own specialism, apparently - and the largest single category of their patients was elderly stroke victims. But they did get a fair number of teenagers and young adults - and "does this mean I can't play video games from now on" was apparently a common question.

I don't know whether they used modified controllers of the sort talked about in TFA, but they did have a few gamers on the staff (including the young lady in question) who compiled lists of games that could be played using one hand or with limited motor control. There were apparently plenty of examples on the "normal" consoles (PS2, PS3, Xbox, 360) and PC, but next to none for the Wii aside from a couple of very basic kiddy games. What they were after were games like the Forza Motorsport games or Bayonetta, which can be configured with assists and the like to allow for entirely 1-handed play.

So, in a world where developers were required by law to make their products fully accessible, it's likely that a large portion of current games wouldn't exist - along with an entire platform (the Wii). And besides, where do you want to define "accessible"? Playable with 1 hand? Playable with no hands? Wanting to make products accessible is a worthy goal, but there does, in any sensible world, come a point at which the opportunity cost is just too great.

Consulting opportunity (4, Funny)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414438)

TFA: "Quadriplegic gamers now have around a dozen different actions they can work with their mouth."

Damn, I need a quadriplegic gamer consultant to provide training for my wife.

Re:Consulting opportunity (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414460)

No problem. I will be happy to drop by and consult with your wife as to how she should best use her mouth.

For a reasonable weekly fee, I'm sure it will only take maybe six months to a year for her to master the techniques I have to teach her.

Re:Consulting opportunity (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414508)

No problem. I will be happy to drop by and consult with your wife as to how she should best use her mouth.

For a reasonable weekly fee, I'm sure it will only take maybe six months to a year for her to master the techniques I have to teach her.

I know everyone is thinking this is a sex joke but 'davester666' takes gaming extremely seriously and is also the Korean World Champion of Star-Craft...

Re:Consulting opportunity (1)

syockit (1480393) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415192)

Strange to see a second mention of Korea here, except in a different context.

Re:Consulting opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415638)

Second?
We're from the Korean Liberation Organization.
We are the only true patriots.
Don't believe in that fake Organization for the Liberation of Korea.

Re:Consulting opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415678)

really? it's not a sex joke? really? Are you saying gamers can't make good sex jokes? I'd have to really hear it from him that this is not a sex joke, one that I had a small chuckle at... I'm sure even my wife would have a small smile before giving me crap about how it's wrong.

Re:Consulting opportunity (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414500)

Damn, I need a quadriplegic gamer consultant to provide training for my wife.

That's strange, the guys from the Union Park basketball court and I think she's great. She does complain quite a bit about your performance, though.

Re:Consulting opportunity (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414754)

That's strange, the guys from the Union Park basketball court

So the majority of them are black guys with huge penises? Shit, man, how can a lil' ol' white guy compete with that?

Back on-topic - Monkey Shines [imdb.com] is a very relevant B-horror film with a great quadriplegic sex scene. See it now courtesy of Netflix' shitty new UI.

Or how about a jam with the disabled physicist Stephen Hawking. [youtube.com]

Re:Consulting opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414788)

Dude, you are into weird shit when you can quickly cite top quadriplegic sex scenes in movies.

Re:Consulting opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415338)

You think he is the only one? haha he is just the only one with the balls to admit it..

Re:Consulting opportunity (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415300)

why is that I never get mod point when I am drunk, as I had would modded you up damm it !

Re:Consulting opportunity (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416678)

So the majority of them are black guys with huge penises?

No, the majority of them are asian students with tiny little weens from UIC. There are also several hispanic guys and an equal number of black and white guys. Luis, one of the hispanic guys is an award-winning pastry chef and restauranteur. One of the guys is a University of Chicago economist (dick) and another is a harmonica player whose name you would recognize if you were a blues fan. My guess is that given your penchant for racial stereotypes, you could not guess the races of those last two.

And this is what I call a Hobby. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414498)

Really what a great and admirable hobby. This is a gentleman that must sleep well every night.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414504)

AMD just announced their new Octriplegic controllers with twice the buttons and axes!

What a story without pictures? (0, Troll)

dottperiod (2257456) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414532)

After more that 10 minutes of search, finally found the pictures [aeonity.com] Hope you like them.

warning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414568)

warning...

Re:What a story without pictures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414606)

*sigh*
Goatse alert...

Re:What a story without pictures? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416246)

For those that would like to see the actual hardware here is the PS2 [quadcontrol.com] and here is the X360 [quadcontrol.com] . I hope he has released the plans so that when he does pass on someone can pick up the torch without having to reinvent the wheel, as these things do look to be seriously complex.

BTW if you are gonna be a dipshit and post old troll crap? Why not do it on one of the articles where there is plenty of fanboy bullshit and nerd rage and NOT on an article where poor cripples are afraid they are gonna lose the only way they have to interact with their friends and kids like normal folks.

It is called having class and style man, you should try it sometime.

What a story without pictures? (-1, Troll)

dotperiod2 (2257472) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414590)

After more that 10 minutes of search, finally found the pictures [aeonity.com] Hope you like them.

Re:What a story without pictures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414636)

Goatse warning.

Re:What a story without pictures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414654)

asshole. literally.
goatse is so old.
grow up you fool.

Re:What a story without pictures? (0)

dotperiod2 (2257472) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414698)

Thanks for the food:

Favorites:
"FUCK.YOU.ASS.HOLE."
"Ugh. Goatse. NSFW. Asshole (poster and picture, both)."
"Seriously ... new account to post that ... what a douche!"
"You're a fucking douchbag." - "That is the most accurate comment yet"
"I hope you die in a fire before you are old enough to contaminate the gene pool."
"Death to all assholes - Let's put you first into the guillotine"
"Asshole... Ginormous asshole, in fact."
"Ugh. Goatse. You asshole."
"Better than you, you arse bandit."
"My word, what is wrong with your anus? I'd get that checked out dotdotdotter."

Hate:
"I hate your guts."
"WTF you fucking asshole."
"You're a lowlife faggot piece of shit."
"Damn! Mod this fucker to hell"
"Fucking troll, do not click there"
"It would be more interesting if I had a piece of pipe and your face, in close proximity so I could smash your face beyond recognition,"
"You fucker" - "I had the same thought as you. What a fucking asshole. The link is nsfw."
"Bravo teeny bopper. You're a really mature mother fucker (or do you prefer father fucking? Damn you homo erotic shittter)."
"Wait! I think I hear your mommy calling to give your tongue a good soap washing. And maybe she'll execute you too"
"You fucking piece of shit!" , "You sorry piece of shit." , "You cunt.", "Fuck you."
"I did not even bother to look, but this same idiot has been doing this for weeks now. Fuck off asshole."
"What a retard..... enough said...."
"Asshole. literally. Goatse is so old. Grow up you fool."

Funny:
"Damnit! nearly 15 years reading /. and I still fall in a goatse.cx trap !"
"It's because of Assholes like you that I can no longer trust URL shorteners"
"Didn't click it, but the magic 8-ball says goatse."
"Would advise against clicking the link in the troll post above. Especially if you're at work atm."
"Thanks, I'm reading slashdot in class like a good student and just got tubgirl'd."
"Not gonna click it to find out, but I'd be surprised if parent's link wasn't goatse... It appears you would be correct sir. Why oh why do I always forget.."
"Watching second monitor, there was something wrong with the other screen. Control + w. Phew..."
"Doh! One has to also recognize data urls. *sigh*"
"That's somewhat clever, but some of us do know what base-64 encoding is."
"Can you not afford normal entertainment?"
"Hey family! Come look! They're opening the Google Talk client! Now, click here...... (sees goatse)"
"I tried to post warnings about the goaste loving jerk yesterday but was modded into oblivion as a karma whore"
"Turn on TinyUrl previews. It saves lives."
"Posting your picture online again?"
"Really? Are you not tired of this yet?"
"High likelyhood of being a Goatse link. Proceed with caution"
"This is grown up talk, 4chan is that way ->"
"Hey moron, try using different links."
(Me posts goatse link and tells it is SFW): "You mean NSFW asshole."

Emotion:
"i WAS eating lunch you ass!"
"Oh dear god my eyes. Haven't seen THAT awful image in a while."
"My eyes are burning... argh! Damn you!"
"MY EYES... dude i am at work here "S "
"WARNING: Don't click on the parent's link! Damn goatse! The first I experienced, no less.
"Oh goddammit. I didn't need that right before bed."
"goatse warning! I'm still recovering."
"Please friends, I beg of you, do not click that link! Do not look at that image, whatever you do! It is a bad image! It is a goatse image."
"*sigh* Goatse alert..."

Frustration:
"Can someone make a fucking goatse blocker firefox plugin please? This is pissing me off now."
"I am sick and tired of that crap on /. "

Philosophy:
"Goatse trolls are getting better these days..."
"Why the sudden coordinated campaign for Goatse? Is someone making money off this?"
"You're right, this is the most coordinated troll campaign in a long time. Multiple accounts, multiple pages."
"Urgh...dammit, am I the only one thinking the goatse trolls are getting worse lately than they have been in the past five years?"
"Who found a way to monetize goatse at this late date? If we got half the effort of that campaign on real stuff we'd all have better software by now."
"Boy Goatsex is out in force today... - Every topic is littered with them..."
"You can't actually expect the Slashdot users to actually know enough not to respond to a goatse troll, right ?"
"Can we start banning people who post that hiding it behind a url shortening link like goo.gl?"

Admiration:
"You are one dedicated troll."
"Well played, sir. Well played."
"A link that redirects to a page containing goatse? How clever of you!"
"Congrats. It's been a long time since I saw goatse."
"Thank you for that informational link"
"Interesting use of Data URLs for Goatse linking."
"Link is self portrait of ME"
"Goatse URL - Haven't seen that guy in a while"
"Well played, sir. It's been a while since I've been Goatse'd"

Misc:
"The fuck is a goatse? it's some dude pulling his arse open."
"Could not someone at slashdot write a small script to blacklist url's that have been flagged troll? I'll do it if you pay me a slave wage..."
"Parent should be modded down. Link is NSFW and mentally scarring."
"Just post the damn url, i'm not going to click on a tinyurl link and get goatse'd or something.."
"Someone please mod this guy down... Don't click his link."
"Mod to -1, please. this guy is an 'asshole'.... (yes, you guessed it)"
"Don't click the link! Goatse wannabe."
"Danger, goatse"

Re:What a story without pictures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414868)

Yup, this is what your life amounted to. Posting goatse on Slashdot and collecting comment trophies.

Re:What a story without pictures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415308)

Awww, jealous someone won't ram your ass like that ?

Re:What a story without pictures? (0)

admiralranga (2007120) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416344)

"Can someone make a fucking goatse blocker firefox plugin please? This is pissing me off now."

I have no idea how difficult plugins are to program are, but how hard would it be to code a plugin that is you click on a shortened url, compares the images on the next page to a folder of shock images and give you a warning page with the similarity to a shick image displayed?

How does he do it? (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414596)

on the Xbox 360? The controllers have special chips in them to lock third parties out? I can see him getting permission, but those chips are complex and hard to come by... Is Microsoft giving him a supply as charity? Kudos if they do.

Re:How does he do it? (4, Informative)

eakerin (633954) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414660)

He's not trying to complete on price w/ Microsoft; So there's nothing stopping him from buying an official controller for each one he builds to get the interface hardware. It just becomes part of the BOM cost.

Then he just has to replace the buttons and joysticks with ones that work for his end-users.

Re:How does he do it? (1)

Bob_Sheep (988029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414726)

The same way I made a wireless arcade controller, by soldering leads directly onto a genuine controller and then connecting them up to the switches.

Re:How does he do it? (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414758)

He uses an official Xbox 360 controller connected to his device to make it work, so it passes through using the real chips.

Re:How does he do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414760)

Look at the pictures [quadcontrol.com] . His controller is connected to a regular Xbox 360 controller. He's probably soldering leads directly to the buttons/sticks.

Is his design patented? (1)

Mike deVice (769602) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414674)

I wondered whether he decided to patent his design, in an effort to license it to a manufacturer. The reason I wonder about this is that if he stops making these because of health or death, no one else will be able to make them either, unless the patent ownership is passed on, sold, or the patent expires. Which would seem like a shame.

Re:Is his design patented? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414782)

Just publish the designs on the web. You don't have to own it to pass it on, you simply have to share it. -- Hiten

Re:Is his design patented? (1)

Mike deVice (769602) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414876)

Just publish the designs on the web. You don't have to own it to pass it on, you simply have to share it. -- Hiten

I'm not sure, as IANAL, and stuff. But my understanding is, in the U.S. at least, that if a design is patented, then it can't be legally manufactured by an unauthorized party. Publishing the design on the web or other public forum doesn't change the protection a patent offers. Remember, patents and all they describe are all available to the public already from the USPO itself.

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to hate on this guy. I admire his work, and he's just the sort of person patents are intended to benefit.

Re:Is his design patented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414864)

This is another reason the IP / Copyright system needs to be scrapped. Dead people don't need copyright or IP, and his work should go to the public domain upon his death. A man like this I'm sure would love for someone to take it upon themselves to do his work for him once he passes on.

Take it back to 14 years and retro all existing works or admit you like government welfare (which is all copyright and IP laws are - government enforced monopolies, the socialism that Republicans fear yet promote in every law).

Re:Is his design patented? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415404)

The only thing that would stop someone from making these would be if he enforced this hypothetical patent. It seems very unlikely that he would do so after being dead.

Then there is the other thing - he started making these controllers 30 years ago. Any possible patents would be either expired or otherwise moot.

Re:Is his design patented? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416092)

Patents, like other legal things, can be inherited. If he held the patent (as an individual), then it would just become the property of his next of kin. As we know nothing about who that is, what happens from there is unpredictable. It's of minimal commercial worth, so they would probably just ignore it. Worst case, they sell it to a patent troll. He might have left it unpatented just to avoid such a scenario, or simply because he doesn't want to spend time on the paperwork of an application. There is nothing new in the use of head-controls and sip/puff tubes as an interface, they go back decades, but he could probably have gotten a patent for their use in games controllers. Not that it would matter if he tried today - he's been at it for thirty years. Longer than the patent term, which has not (yet) been through the near-infinite extension process that happened to copyright.

Wii U Fleshlight (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414716)

Still waiting for my Wii Fleshlight

Similar projects and people (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414746)

Similar projects and people:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83nSodg-HTU

http://benheck.com/03-16-2008/new-single-handed-controller

http://benheck.com/Games/Xbox360/controls/1hand/singlehandcontroller.htm

I think it's great that there are a handful of people focussing on gamers who would otherwise struggle with standard controllers. I only wish the Sonys, Microsofts, and Nintendos of this world would occasionally take the lead in this research, or at the very least contribute to some R&D once in a while.

Re:Similar projects and people (1)

Braedley (887013) | more than 2 years ago | (#36417110)

Ben Heck was the first name that came to my mind. He may even be able to improve on the design. No offense to Mr. Yankelevitz, but Ben Heck's controllers, even the prototypes, have a fit and finish that I don't quite see in Ken's work.

Interesting.. and frustrating? (3, Interesting)

Altheron (80735) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414764)

As a gamer who has a mild neurological condition that limits fine motor control in one of my hands... and have become increasingly annoyed at the complexity of controllers and control schemes (the shoulder buttons on a dualshock controller are particularly hard to reliably control)...

I both salute this man, and I wonder what kinds of games one can actually play with such a controller... the amount of reflexes and reaction time required to play most (90%?) of the games, seems like it would be beyond what you could convey through one of these devices in a useful amount of time..

For those weary of the inevitable goatse link.... (3, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414790)

If someone wanted to fill his shoes, it wouldn't be an easy task.

He puts each controller together by hand, using his engineering skills to solder dozens of switches and circuits. Controllers are offered for just over $200 and include a 1-year warranty for repairs.

"If the bottom line is profit, there's no way to make a profit on these," Yankelevitz said.

Yankelevitz said larger companies and game manufacturers have shown no interest in producing the controllers because the market is so small. He's sold just over 800 of the devices through 30 years. Factory construction of the controller would be cost prohibitive, over $1,000 each.

Man builds 30 years of quadriplegic gaming [msn.com]

Re:For those weary of the inevitable goatse link.. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416226)

Considering how much Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo spend on advertising, you'd think they could offer the same service in-house.
Even if they gave away the modified controllers for free, they'd more than recoup the cost through increased goodwill and word of mouth.

Re:For those weary of the inevitable goatse link.. (1)

PyroMosh (287149) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416386)

That's EXACTLY what Nintendo used to do. At least during the NES era.

I wrote about this once before on Slashdot [slashdot.org] .

Basically the controller (which worked in very much the same way as what this guy builds [oneswitch.org.uk] ) was $120 by itself, or $180 if you purchased it as a complete package with a new NES. Since a new NES was the same price in stores at the time, it essentially made the controller free if you didn't already have a system.

They used to distribute these to children's hospitals too. And I can't find a link to verify this bit, but I believe it was in cooperation with The Starlight Foundation.

Sadly, I never heard of a similar project for later Nintendo consoles. I can see why they don't still make these for the Wii. It's control scheme is a bit too oddball to translate to a controller like that. But I don't know why they couldn't offer something like this for the SNES / N64 / GameCube eras.

Needs an Instructable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414798)

This calls out for an Instructable post. If Mr Yankelevitz's nice designs are not open source, then there should be an alternative design that is. Perhaps as he re-retires, he will consider creating a How-To. Warranties wouldnt come with such a device, but perhaps the friend who makes one would be willing to help if it breaks. Another great build it project of makerspaces.

Re:Needs an Instructable! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36414910)

If Mr Yankelevitz's nice designs are not open source, then there should be an alternative design that is.

Have you considered the possibility these controllers may have to be customized for each client or patient? That solutions have to be found for each new generation of controller? That training the user is a problem in itself?

Re:Needs an Instructable! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415656)

"Have you considered the possibility these controllers may have to be customized for each client or patient?"

Great job for a makerbot.
Change design.
Print.

Charity Foundation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414834)

A charity organization would be an excellent way to solve this problem. A company or a group of company's could pitch in some PR money or what have you to a charity dedicated to taking this man's lead and producing these at low cost to the recipients. If you found a way of producing them, either by hand or factory, that wasn't too cost prohibitive, the charity could cover the labor and development costs. Since it seems that there is not an extensive market, it would only need a low production capability and the costs to maintain the charity should not be prohibitive for a larger corporation.

I guess this is good for 1980 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414916)

But I expected by now for someone's hobby to be repairing spinal cords. Where is all this vaunted "technology" I keep hearing about? More programming languages and a few billion more transistors in my PC are about all I see as "progress" in the last 30 years. Why is medicine so Stone Age still?

Re:I guess this is good for 1980 (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415282)

You can freely experiment on tech without someone suing you for medical malpractice. It's much harder to make advances in medicine when nothing can ever be tested.

Re:I guess this is good for 1980 (2)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415674)

"Why is medicine so Stone Age still?"

Because not enough people donate computing time to Folding@home ( http://folding.stanford.edu/ [stanford.edu] ) instead of leaving those other 1/37 cores run idle.
They also have version that runs on that expensive gaming graphics card you've got.
It's not much, but it helps me sleep better.

Re:I guess this is good for 1980 (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416104)

There are some problems in medicine that can be solved by throwing processing power at them. There are a lot more problems that can be solved only by throwing biologists at them. Science needs to go faster. This body is only good for a century, a little more with luck - I need a new one ready before it wears out.

Re:I guess this is good for 1980 (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416312)

Greed and capitalism.

We have a thousand companies all trying to win a single race where the winner takes all and the 999 others lose billions.

If they all worked together, we'd have cracked all illnesses by now.

sock puppet controllers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36414948)

I want sock puppet controllers so I can finally interact with my game system the same way I'd enjoy going through life, talking with and interacting with my hands.

seriously, folks, sock puppets are the way of the future! Nothing loves you more than your own hand(s), why not dress them up, give them some pet names, and hook them up to your game system?

the movie, the beaver, is one way the sock puppet revolution is breaking into the mainstream. do you like playing with sock puppets? you are not alone, soon we will be mainstream.

Mr. Heckindorn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415246)

Calling Ben Heck...

Hopefully (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36415750)

Someone can step up and ask to apprentice to him. That'd be awesome.

I'm certain there's someone out there that would enjoy doing this and be able to carry on.

Open Source (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36415998)

Publish the schematics for what he does, let the community deal with it.

Guy's a star and I want to hug him but there are a LOT of people out there who would do this gratis if they knew how.

Re:Open Source (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36416100)

The schematics aren't the problem here, because they are identical to the ones already used for people with full motion. The mechanics are what is making this difficult.

Re:Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36416376)

Hmm, I suppose, I was looking at it, and it seems like that you can move 1 XY direction with the mouth, and another one with the tongue(atleast that is how I would do it). Not quite sure if im correct though.

Re:Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36416500)

The schematics aren't the problem here, because they are identical to the ones already used for people with full motion. The mechanics are what is making this difficult.

I think you may be under the impression that schematics imply electronics. That is not true.

Opened sourced (mechanical) schematics would indeed be very helpful.

What about Playstation Move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36416266)

And kinect. Did he adapt those?

Maybe he should make a kinect game for cripples in which you are a plant, and just sit still and you grow.

Get back fuckers, it was MY idea!

Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36416812)

...who dreams of one day being able to help people in the same way as he? I'd love to have such a hobby, and I hope to have enough knowledge once I finish my MSc in Comp. Sci. to be of any help. I genuinely do.

Almost is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36417036)

Ben Heckendorn has made a niche business out of custom special needs controllers. It's not his primary output but as with his other console work, quality is high.

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