Katamari controller

Remember those days, back in the arcade, where games with a unique control scheme also had a controller best suited for them? There were rolling balls, joysticks, dials, all sorts of inputs. Consoles have maily relied on their standard controllers, relegating alternative inputs to be strange collectors items. Some games just need a specialized controller though. For example, Katamari Damacy. [Kellbot] has made one that we think suits the game very well.


  1. Richard Finder says:

    Awesome. A really wonderful idea. Form follows function. Everything should work like that.

    Have a nice day

  2. BigD145 says:

    If only it got bigger as the game went on.

  3. Andrew says:

    Very well done project. press could be done with some springs and a button… the (rather heavy) springs would mostly hold the mice (and the ball) up, but pressing down would be possible, maybe activating one of the existing mouse buttons. A better holder would have to be designed first, and some experimentation with various compression springs to see how much resistance would be needed.

  4. 36Chambers says:

    I am jealous of this kid (im well over 20), what books do I need to read to be able to do that kind of stuff?

  5. Kelly says:


    I didn’t use any particular books, but I scrounged most of what I needed from the Arduino website (http://www.arduino.cc), and then asked my friends a million annoying questions.

  6. 36Chambers says:

    thx Kelly, I always have ideas for things I want to build that USED to seem near impossible for me to create, yet with the Arduino’s it seems like it much is feasible and easily within grasp. I think you may have just inspired me to quit being lazy on the Arduino tip.

  7. Ethan says:

    its kind of loud… :/ maybe grease it up, replace any metal balls you used with optical mouse balls.

  8. grey says:

    Optical mouse balls? You mean trackballs? Optical mouse balls sounds like an oxymoron.

  9. dirk says:

    Neat, but I think I would want more inertia. I’d want to roll the thing and have it keep spinning for a bit.

  10. grovenstien says:

    To get a yoga ball to spin try using bigger bearings. Imagine the track ball you have already multiplied by three being used as the bearings for the yoga ball.

  11. kaotickisses says:

    have you thought of using the sensor that a mouse uses and putting it under the ball on the base so instead of you holding the mouse up to it the ball, the ball will have its own sensor so the PlayStation can read it like a controller

  12. Anonymouse says:

    kaotickisses, I don’t know if you’ve ever actually played Katamari Damacy, but the problem is that you use *both* analog sticks to control the movements of the single katamari on-screen.

  13. Mike says:

    good use of existing technology without having to reinvent the wheel (or ball).

    could the background clatter be any louder? a toilet flushing in the background would have completed the soundtrack! give those people behind the camera a dope slap to the back of the head.

  14. NXK says:

    It’s all fun and games until the silver orb chases you down and drills a hole in your head…

  15. nubie says:

    Ball mice are optical mice, yes I do find the concept of “optical” optical mice confusing.

    Watch this video, about 50 seconds in:


    About that time I was rolling on the floor too ;)

    This is neat, I would suggest that if your Arduino runs on 5 volts just use the USB port on the PS2 to power it.

    I liked Katamari Damacy, but the controls were not intuitive, they didn’t work like real tanks should, you needed to use all 4 axis, almost just to torture you. No real reason for it.

    I wonder if you could hack up the control scheme of the game (using an action replay or gameshark) to use a single standard mouse plugged into USB (put all the programming onto the PS2 platform), or maybe even using the Playstation mouse.

    I would love a beach-ball sized controller floating on an air base, perhaps with the right optics you could focus a mouse on the floating surface, you could position an IR break sensor below it, and pressing the ball down would activate the presses (I forget, what were the presses used for again?)

    Also you could figure out a way to translate the inputs to one single mouse using logic. Basically reverse-engineering the software the game is using to convert 4 input axis into 2 motion axis, then putting that on-board the Arduino.

    Also I have converted a standard PSX controller to have the left analog stick where the d-pad was, after I got Katamari I started wanting to move the left stick up to where the action buttons were, kinda like a handheld version of this: http://curmudgeongamer.com/2005/10/ace-combat-and-dual-analog-flight.html

    PS, love the music, that game is freaking awesome.

  16. michael says:

    One of the more useful projects for an arduino that I’ve seen. Most projects seem like severe overkill.

    Usefulness being subjective, of course.

  17. Hitek146 says:

    ^^^lol @ Phantasm reference… :)

  18. Diddle says:

    Having played katamari and watched this project video, it seems to me that a trackball would have sufficed, albeit a smaller interface.

  19. jobags says:

    do you guys even spell check?

  20. Alice says:

    This is so cool! Great idea!

  21. ericdand says:

    Wow, this is even better than a simple pool-ball-style trackball! The only question I have is this: why didn’t you affix the mouse to the side of the ball so that you didn’t constantly have to hold it? The rest of the controller is so professional, it only makes sense to spend five minutes building a little support for the mouse.

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