Today I am very happy to announce that the Playstation 3 controller has been modded and will be delivered to someone who needs it very soon. If you don't remember the entire story, check out Part 1 where I asked for ideas on how to modify the controller for someone with muscular dystrophy.
Getting to a proper resolution took several steps. As you saw in the first post, I had initially planned on physically modifying the controller to relocate the buttons. This idea really bothered me, though. Even if I had been able to come up with a functional prototype, it would have a been a slow, labor-intensive process. Should others want the same modification, it wouldn't have been much easier to do again. I decided an add-on or accessory was needed for the job instead.
I brainstormed for a while and came up with a few designs of my own, but again realized that the best way I could actually help was to act as a cheerleader, inspiring people more talented than I am to act. (It seems this particular cheerleading skill of mine gets the most results, so I should skip to that step without so much delay on each project.)
Together with the really amazing folks at iFixit, I hosted a contest. The first five people who could come up with the simplest, easy-to-implement, easy-to-distribute accessory that actually worked, would get a really cool Pro toolkit and a magnetic work mat. There have been a couple of winners with fully functional designs already.
The design that I felt was the simplest and most elegant was actually just a golf tee and a paperclip hot glued to the controller.
I thought this was brilliant, but I really wanted to be able to send people a part that they could attach and use. Maybe something a little higher quality and more reliable than a golf tee and paperclip. To do this, I designed a single piece that fulfills the same function and can be printed on a 3D printer. I was careful in my design to print in a way that the layers would give maximum strength in the correct direction, hopefully minimizing the chance this will snap.
These are available to download at Thingiverse and YouMagine. Anyone can download them, modify them, and improve them. I really think that this simple plastic part might help a lot more people than if I had just modified the one controller I had. I also now have the potential to just print these and mail them cheaply to others who need them.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.