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As the capstone project of the Bioinstrumentation class at Johns Hopkins, we were tasked with building a video game controller that would allow a double arm amputee (amputated at the elbows) the ability to play the game Minecraft on a PC or Mac.  The device I invented uses a USB HID protocol to act as a mouse and keyboard for any computer.  I wrote the code using Arduino IDE combined with the Teensy programming package. 

The under arm joystick outputs the appropriate letters to move the character forward, backwards, and left and right.  The accelerometer on the back measure the tilt of the player's torso, and uses this information to output mouse commands to make the player look around.  Finally, one button under the left arm performs the jump command and the other button tells the controller to calibrate the accelerometer with the player's current position.  To encase all the components, I created vector drawings on SolidWorks and used a laser-cutter to cut each piece out of various thicknesses of acrylic.  The pieces were designed
to fit together like a puzzle (and look pretty snazzy).

The end result was a smooth controller that can act as a USB mouse on any computer.  On the last day of class, everyone competed to see who had built the most effective device, and after a photo finish, my device took 1st place, beating the closest competitor by only 2 seconds.

Instructions on how to build a device using the USB microcontroller, links to helpful resources, and my source code can be found below.

Useful Links

Teensy 2.0 (specs & coding tutorials)





Parallax Joystick - http://learn.parallax.com/KickStart/27800
DE-ACCM3D – Accelerometer
- http://www.dimensionengineering.com/products/de-accm3d
Adam Lightman,
Jan 14, 2013, 8:34 PM