Normally we see some crazy mad science projects coming from [Ben Krasnow’s] laboratory. This week [Ben] changes gears a bit and hacks his Xbox controller to interface with his bathroom scale and function as a posture controlled input device. You may want to take a moment for that to tumble around in your noggin before we trying to explain. What this means is you sit catawampus on a bathroom scale and when you lean forward your game character moves forward, lean back your character backs up and lean side to side for strafe left and right.
A modern digital bathroom scale has four pressure point transducers — one in each corner — which are read by the central controller and summed to generate the weight of the object setting on the scale. To use the scale as a controller input [Ben] removed the central scale controller and created two amplified Wheatstone bridge differential circuits, one for each diagonal axis between load cells. After adding an offset potentiometer to fix the resting point at 0.8 volts, the amplified differential voltage signals are fed directly into an Xbox controller’s thumb stick input for game control.
Additionally, to add rotation to his new game controller he hacked a an old ball type mouse and added a bit of rubber tubing that contacted and tracked the base of a Lazy Susan platter. The scale sits on the Lazy Susan and allows for the partial rotation of your torso to controlled game rotation. However, [Ben] still needed a regular mouse interfaced with the game for full 360° rotation control.
There is more after the break, plus the build and demonstration video.
The reason [Ben] went through so much effort was to have a hands-free game control device that may be useful for future virtual reality gaming. And we can also see the usage of such a device as an aid for some physical disabilities. If [Ben] wants to go one step further and add voice control to his Xbox controller we have a reference project ready perusal.