UsbXlater for PS4 Keyboard And Mouse Action


[Frank Zhao]—an awesome guy, an inadvertent Hackaday contributor, and an Adafrut fellow—has come up with a device to use a keyboard and mouse with Playstation 4 games. He calls it the UsbXlater, and even if [Frank] can’t get it working with his PS4, it’s still going to be an awesome tool.

On the board are two USB ports and an STM32F2 microcontroller. The micro provides a USB host interface and a USB device interface, enabling it to translate mouse movements and keystrokes into something a PS4 can understand.  While this project was originally designed to use a keyboard and mouse on [Frank]’s shiny new PS4, it’s not quite working just yet. He’s looking for a few gamer/dev folks to help him suss out the communication between a keyboard/mouse, the UsbXlater, and a PS4.

Of course, even if this device is never used for what it’s designed for, it’s still a very, very interesting tool. With two USB ports, the UsbXlater could act as a signal generator for USB devices and hosts, analyze USB traffic, or provide other applications that haven’t even been thought of yet.

[Frank] is hitting his head against the wall trying to figure out the PS4 protocol, so if you have some USB skills, feel free to hit him up for a blank PCB, though preference falls to people who will game with it and to those with a USB traffic analyzer. If you lack the skills for USB development, [Frank] is still looking for a better name for his device.

18 thoughts on “UsbXlater for PS4 Keyboard And Mouse Action

  1. It’s not just a protocol thing; my understanding (which I’ve gleaned from the people who are trying to make boards that support the new consoles out of the box, and having trouble) is that Sony went with Microsoft’s strategy this year in that to appear as a “proper PS4 controller” (as I understand it, PS3 controllers apparently *can* be supported on a per-software-basis, but most devs aren’t doing it; that would allow pretty much generic HID device profile with the special header to enable button 17 Home support or whatever) of using chip-based security platform to ensure licensing on the controllers front. It sucks, because the PS3 was *seriously* nice for tinkerers due to the HID support.

    That’s my understanding from the early days impressions; haven’t seen a full teardown myself ID’ing the chip, but from what I’ve seen, the arcade stick scene has gone to their old padhacking ways with very little hope of a near-term native solution. I want to say it was confirmed by MarkMan from Mad Catz (the need for a licensing chip on PS4), but I don’t remember if I saw that first- or second-hand.

      1. Oops, that was a half thought out comment… let me try again.

        I’ve been working on a similar project called USBProxy using the Beaglebone black, obviously it wouldn’t make sense to give this project the same name!

        I like all of these names, I wish I’d asked for suggestions before naming USBProxy, I’m terrible naming things.

  2. That’s an interesting USB socket, I don’t recall seeing one of those before.

    Googles for “usb socket through-hole right angle”, suffers sticker shock on discovering Jameco want $5 a piece, finds eBay sellers still want $1.60 each, decides to stick with the normal type.

        1. I am not fond of Chinese USB A sockets as they make them from a soft metal
          instead of a springy one. Eventually those connectors become “loose”.
          Their mini-USB sockets are fine.

  3. I’m sure those USB sockets can’t be too expensive somewhere; I’ve pulled a few of them out of old electronics where there was plenty of room from a normal USB socket and there obviously wasn’t enough money to buy capacitors rated for the necessary voltage.

    As for the device itself, MatLo (the guy behind GIMX) is having the same problem. He has given up on USB entirely and is now working on refining bluetooth to do the job. That means the windows version of his app that has always been USB-only is either going to need a major re-write (and I mean to the point that it steps around the Windows BT stack, which is possible; VMware does it) or it is dead…and the Linux version seems to be in trouble due to the speed issues that newer linux kernals have with BTLE…a bit less of a challenge there, although it might require the end user to do some stuff they are uncomfortable with.

    SOOOO….maybe this device needs to be turned around and connected to a PC. The keyboard and mouse feed the PC, which converts to USB-HID gamepad standards and sends it to the device on the device-mode side. Then, stick a $5 BT dongle into the host-mode USB port and with a totally new ROM this thing becomes essentially the old DIY-USB adapter, except with bluetooth instead of the second USB cable.

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