Talking Joystick Mouse

Instructibles user [Shadowwynd] shows us a great way to build a joystick/mouse device for people with special accessibility needs. When faced with a case that involved a man with very limited mobility as well as a limited budget, [shadowwynd] set out to find a cost effective solution to computer navigation. They found that his client could use a commercial joystick mouse, but the cost was quite high at over $400. So instead of just purchasing that, they bought a USB game pad and built their own version. They managed to reduce the cost to roughly $45.  While extending the buttons and joystick from a gamepad might not be groundbreaking, we feel that this project is the epitome of hacking. Great job [Shadowwynd] keep up the good work.

8 thoughts on “Talking Joystick Mouse

  1. The one thing i hear from my friends who work with special needs children is that the technology that would be most beneficial to them are priced so ridiculously high that they are unaffordable for most families. Theres no reason a touchscreen soundboard should cost thousands of dollars like they do, because an iPad can do it AND STILL BE AN iPAD. While hacks like this article come around every so often, I am supprised that there isn’t more of a community based around providing free or open-source devices/plans/software for the special needs community and their families.

  2. I believe the $400 and thousands of dollars comments. It’s fucked up, but it makes “business sense.”

    If more people buy it, it can be made cheaper, if less people buy it, it drives the cost up. You have to pay salaries of the engineers (especially if you plan on building anything new, rather than just selling the old stuff…) and less people buying it, means less profits.

    If all you want is sound and a touch screen I say buy a netbook for a couple hundred (or like you already pointed out an over-sized iPhone that costs more and can’t make calls… or an android tablet… etc etc)

  3. @Mikey – It is only in the last few years that netbooks have become quite affordable, but there is still the barrier of software and interfacing. There are people who will take the time to make a Family Guy Soundboard app and put it online for free, yet they will charge an exorbitant amount for it if its marketed as a tool for the developmentally disabled rather than as a joke. If the joke was worth one’s free time, why would that same effort not be worth helping someone who can’t help themselves?

  4. > Simple things like a big button with USB end up being really expensive.

    they aren’t expensive. the products just cater to a niche market and are thus justified (in the eyes of the manufacturer/distributor) in charging a premium for meeting someone’s needs.

  5. Reminds me of me. I made an old SNES fighter stick work with my PS2, using a $4 PS controller. Same basic concept, pulled out the bare PCB and soldered to the switch lands. I connected it with a 40-pin .100 header so I could just open it up and unplug/plug to use it as an SNES controller again. With a USB/PS2 controller adapter, it works with PS3 and PC. I like the accessibility angle; would love to implement with the same noble intent.

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