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Hardware Hacking Input Devices Build Games

How One Man Helps Keep Game Controllers Accessible 130

Posted by timothy
from the division-of-labor-limited-by-extent-of-market dept.
capedgirardeau writes with a clipping from the AP about engineer Ken Yankelevitz: "[W]ith the retired Bozeman engineer's 70th birthday approaching, disabled gamers say they fear there will be no one to replace Yankelevitz, who has sustained quadriplegic game controllers for 30 years almost entirely by himself. The retired aerospace engineer hand makes the controllers with custom parts in his Montana workshop, offering them at a price just enough to cover parts." Yankelevitz builds interfaces to control an Xbox 360 or PlayStation.
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How One Man Helps Keep Game Controllers Accessible

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  • by eakerin (633954) on Saturday June 11, 2011 @08:33PM (#36414660) Homepage

    He's not trying to complete on price w/ Microsoft; So there's nothing stopping him from buying an official controller for each one he builds to get the interface hardware. It just becomes part of the BOM cost.

    Then he just has to replace the buttons and joysticks with ones that work for his end-users.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 11, 2011 @08:47PM (#36414746)

    Similar projects and people:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83nSodg-HTU

    http://benheck.com/03-16-2008/new-single-handed-controller

    http://benheck.com/Games/Xbox360/controls/1hand/singlehandcontroller.htm

    I think it's great that there are a handful of people focussing on gamers who would otherwise struggle with standard controllers. I only wish the Sonys, Microsofts, and Nintendos of this world would occasionally take the lead in this research, or at the very least contribute to some R&D once in a while.

  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday June 11, 2011 @08:56PM (#36414790)

    If someone wanted to fill his shoes, it wouldn't be an easy task.

    He puts each controller together by hand, using his engineering skills to solder dozens of switches and circuits. Controllers are offered for just over $200 and include a 1-year warranty for repairs.

    "If the bottom line is profit, there's no way to make a profit on these," Yankelevitz said.

    Yankelevitz said larger companies and game manufacturers have shown no interest in producing the controllers because the market is so small. He's sold just over 800 of the devices through 30 years. Factory construction of the controller would be cost prohibitive, over $1,000 each.

    Man builds 30 years of quadriplegic gaming [msn.com]

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