Video Games for Everybody: Designing a One-Handed Videogame Controller

Since they were introduced around fifty years ago, videogames have slowly become one of the most popular forms of entertainment in many societies. For much of that time, they were seen as little more than children's toys, but as whole generations have grown up with them, the audiences have gotten broader. More importantly, for our purposes, since the Internet became widely available to ordinary people, video games have been developing into not just entertainment, but the centers of online communities, and even into competetive "sports" of a sort. What this means is that, for some people, videogames are very important, and it's a very big deal to lose the ability to play them because of a physical disability. In particular, many videogames require the use of some kind of controller, and these usually require both hands to use. If someone loses a hand or arm, it becomes a lot harder to play videogames with one of these controllers.

The Project

That's where you come in. In this project, you'll be designing a one-handed videogame controller that's capable of replacing an ordinary one, so somebody with only one hand can still participate in a game with as little disadvantage as possible. To do so, you'll need to use industrial design, engineering, and CAD skills, and you'll need to be creative to meet these challenging goals.

While there are many places your class could go with this project, the STEM Explorer is equipped to help you produce one concrete product: a 3D-printed mockup of your game controller design, without any working electronics inside, but with mock buttons (and switches, and joysticks, and whatever else your controller design needs) so you can demonstrate how it fits in a person's hand,and how good its ergonomics are. If your school and teacher are feeling particularly ambitious, you might choose to do more than this, for example designing a working prototype that you can actually control a videogame with, but for this roughly five-week project, we'll have more than enough to do simply designing and manufacturing your mockups.

The Standards

This project is designed to meet Michigan's HS-ETS1-2 and HS-ETS1-3 engineering standards, and many of ISTE's Student standards. For more information, you can read our standards summary document, Michigan's standards document, and the ISTE's standards page.

The Rubric

You can see the rubric that your teacher will use to grade your project here.

Important Links

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