Our goal as a design team is to create a fully customized, one-handed (right hand) PlayStation 4 controller for an individual who has lost the use of their left hand.
The case presented to us is that of a 27 year-old female who is currently in occupational therapy for the paralysis of her left side following a stroke several years ago. The individual loved playing video games prior to her current situation and desires to have a controller for her PlayStation that accommodates her needs. With most standard video game controllers, one must use both hands in order to hold the device and use the required controls. Within the past decade, various companies and even individuals have tried to solve the issue of handicapped players being able to play video games. While there are solutions out there, they are either very costly for the individual or they do not meet their needs.
The needs of the new controller are best described using the diagram below.
(above: diagram of a standard issue PlayStation 4 controller)
There are 9 controls in this diagram of the device that would be difficult or impossible to use for an individual who has lost the use of their left hand. In order to have a true one-handed controller, our team needs to completely redesign the controller to fit the individuals right hand, allow comfortable use of all controls, and be easy to operate.
In order to achieve this, our team has created 3 different concept designs to allow the individual options as to which device she would feel most comfortable with and could easily see herself using and enjoying.
There is only one control that we will be unable to deliver the full experience of: the touchpad. Due to the size and complexity of this feature, we will be scaling down this feature to a simple PlayStation home button. This only reduces the experience of this control and does not diminish or limit the individual’s use of the function.
Our team’s goal is to not only create a functional one-handed controller, but to improve this individual’s quality of life and help her get back to an activity that she thoroughly enjoys.
There are various semi-adaptive or fully adaptive video game controllers currently on the market. One of the largest names in adaptive controllers is the company EvilControllers, which was founded by a long-time gamer who also has muscular dystrophy. His design adapts pre-existing controllers to include a detachable left or right joystick, with appropriate left or right triggers, d-pad keys, etc. However, seeing that those who have a disability are often under financial strain from various medical expenses, EvilControllers’s price point is not accessible for most. The adaptive controllers start at $99.95, not including tax, shipping, or other necessary modifications.
The next controller that our team drew inspiration from was actually a custom design by a content creator, Benjamin Heckerdon, who 3D printed a one-handed controller. He now sells these devices for $300, not including tax or shipping.
The last controller that gave our team some helpful ideas is a model that is not marketed as an adaptive controller but rather an accessory controller created by Sony. Sony created this controller to use with certain games, as it is not capable of controlling games that are not compatible.
Scale from 1-5; 1 being worst, 5 being best.
|Ease of Use||Electronic Adaptability||Cost||Durability||Physical Compatability|
Design 1 Total: 21
Design 2 Total: 17
Design 3 Total: 10
Selected Concept for Final Design: Design 1
For this analysis we wanted to take a look at the at how paddle shifts could make the controller easier for Brittany to use. Since we have decided to go with concept design 1 the left bumper and trigger are going to be controlled by the ring and pinky finger and those are harder to have fine motor skills over. We wanted to take a look and see of paddle shifters would be easier for her to use. Once we have the controller and the paddle shifts in we want to do a test to see which one takes the least amount of pressure to activate the button and that will show us which one that we should use. We also want to have her input into this we want to see if she likes how the paddles feel on the controller or if she would prefer a more traditional set up.
For this second analysis, we need to determine how best to remap the internal electronics of the controller to suit a one-handed design.
Luckily, from the previous team’s attempt at this project, we have a solid foundation to work off of. We also have the ability to work with the PlayStation Move controller’s internal components.
With the use of both electronics, we can custom fit the wiring into the our final design.
For our third analysis, we will be looking at the sizing constraints of our patient’s needs. The patient has relatively small hands, so keeping our product at a comfortable size for her is of high importance. Our design measures at roughly 6.5″ x 2.2″ x 1.7″ which should be of optimal sizing for her.