Console Controller Mod Gets Amputee Back In The Game

No matter how it happens, losing one or more fingers is going to change one’s life in thousands of ways. We’re a manipulative species, very much accustomed to interacting with the world through the amazing appendages at the ends of our arms. Finding ways around the problems that result from amputations is serious business, of course, even when it’s just modifying a game console controller for use with a prosthetic hand.

We’ve gotten to know [Ian Davis] quite well around these parts, at least from his videos and Instagram posts. [Ian]’s hard to miss — he’s in the “Missing Parts Club” as he puts it, consisting of those who’ve lost all or part of a limb, which he has addressed through his completely mechanical partial-hand prosthetic. As amazing as the mechanical linkages of that prosthetic are, he hasn’t regained full function, at least not to the degree required to fully use a modern game console controller, so he put a couple of servos and a Trinket to work to help.

An array of three buttons lies within easy reach of [Ian]’s OEM thumb. Button presses there are translated into servo movements that depress the original bumper buttons, which are especially unfriendly to his after-market anatomy. Everything rides in an SLA-printed case that’s glued atop the Playstation controller. [Ian] went through several design iterations and even played with the idea of supporting rapid fire at one point before settling on the final design shown in the video below.

It may not make him competitive again, but the system does let him get back in the game. And he’s quite open about his goal of getting his designs seen by people in a position to make them widely available to other amputees. Here’s hoping this helps.

6 thoughts on “Console Controller Mod Gets Amputee Back In The Game

    1. Only if whoever opened your “friend” up for repairs failed to put something back. It’s the age-old problem of dropping a screw on the floor while fixing the car and having it skitter down a drain. Same thing happens in surgery suites all the time, I’ll bet

    1. Your choice ;-)

      But the fact that our intelligence is largely based on our ability to manipulate the world around us is something that has always fascinated me. That’s why I call us “manipulative”, in the literal sense.

  1. Too bad that when the new dualshock driver was added to the Linux kernel in 2018 the motion controller device no longer registers a a JS device. Big pain in the ass when Sony rewrote the very useful single JS driver into a compliant one where all the function had to be whittled down. No more using a dualshock as a very nice air-yoke in flightgear anymore for simulator pilots who are stuck in a hospital bed.

  2. “Instead of pressing buy it now, I decided to spend about $600 worth of time, and $25 in material to fabricate my own” lol I can relate.

    I like his description of his writing and recording process, and the quick look at his teleprompter. Cool video!

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