As the AbleGamers charity organization continues to work to aid disabled players in being part of gaming as a whole, a part of that continues to be the interfaces by which we game. AbleGamers has partnered with some young engineering minds to produce a new controller to address this. Students from University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) have prototyped a “No Pull, No Lift” controller with AbleGamers to address motion limitation and make gaming interfaces more accessible than ever.
AbleGamers shared word of its collaboration with UPEI engineering students via its official Twitter, as well as via CBC. Reportedly AbleGamers tapped a group of students to design a controller that requires as little holding, movement, or pulling as possible. In turn, the student group, comprised of fifth years Graham Ching and Muhanad Hilaneh and fourth years Ryan Unuigboje and Denaj Miller created a “No Pull, No Lift” controller prototype that can be operated on a flat surface with around 10 switches that operate various controller functions with minimal movement. It operates as one big joystick with a puck inside that requires only the slightest handling to operate various the various button functions.
— AbleGamers Charity (@AbleGamers)
Mark Barlet, executive director of AbleGamers U.S., was happy to see the progress on the controller so far and applauded the students efforts on a controller built for folks whose disabilities include a limited range of motion.
“If you're a person whose disability has a physical manifestation, oftentimes it's the controllers themselves that we need to change,” Barlet said. “A standard controller … requires a lot of dexterity that many people just don't have, and so we create new custom controllers to bridge that gap so you can get into a game and really enjoy it.”
The students themselves are happy to be working on the project as well. It has yet to be tested by disabled players, but they are optimistic that the controller’s minimal movement and functionality should allow for players with a wider variety of physical situations to be able to operate it. If it works as intended, the students have also strived to create the controller from parts cheap enough to make it as affordably accessible as it is physically. Total cost is expected to be $52 (CAD) in comparison to the $70 and $75 USD price tags currently on Xbox Series X/S and PS5 controllers respectively.
Once again AbleGamers stands at the forefront of accessible gaming and it looks like the charity is bringing enterprising young minds along for the ride. Hopefully, UPEI’s “No Pull, No Lift” prototype will continue to advance and we’ll see it commercially available in the near future.