Anyone who’ve ever spoken to me for more than twenty seconds will know accessibility in video gaming is a huge passion of my life. Across the world people from almost any creed and race are able to easy jump into a video game, and yet people who suffer from sensory disabilities or the lost of a limb are often excluded from this pastime. Not because they don’t want to play but because they simply cannot enjoy the games they want to play. Thanks to a guy named Ben Heck in collaberation with the Farnell/Newark/Element14 group though there is hope for some.
In two of his videos Ben shows us all how to modify Single-Handed Xbox One and PS4 controllers for those with one arm to use (mainly left arm amputees). He details some pretty interesting methods as well as insights into the construction of these controller. One example which stuck in my mind is changing the wiring of the Xbox One’s D-Pad to make it possible to use the input with a simple multi-directional switch. These aren’t easy fixes though. Someone with a small to medium amount of electrical knowledge may be able to modify these controllers pretty easily but an actual amputee is going to find these modifications quite hard at the best of times. Luckily with the steps shown in each video someone close to sufferers is likely going to be able to help.
If you want to try and do these builds for yourself or indeed for a friend the components – besides the actual controllers themselves – are available through the Farnell website for UK users, the Newark site for US residents and the Element 14 page for Australian users amongst us. You may also have to source the tools used yourself. It does warm the heart to see people around the world showing others how to build these pieces of equipment and providing the resources to do so.
Perhaps more people like Ben Heck and the Element 14 group will help gaming hardware designers think twice in their future designs.