Regardless of how you feel about Valve’s Steam Machine and Steam OS , it’s tough to argue that the truly innovative (for better or worse) aspect to the #Linux #gaming initiative isn’t the #SteamController . A traditional gamepad silhouette that replaces analog sticks with touchpads, as well as adds a small touchscreen in the center, is certainly weird. However, a Valve employee is working on even weirder methods of control, in the form of a butt-pad and tongue-mouse.
Thankfully, these are two separate gamepads, and you won’t have to put a controller in your mouth after your friend has been sitting on it. The two controllers were created by Valve hardware developer Ben Krasnow, who once developed a see-through rocket engine. The tongue controller is simple enough. It’s made of a repurposed optical mouse fitted into a retainer, which is then put into your mouth. You use your tongue to manipulate the device by swiping over the optical sensor — just like you can do with your finger — but it’s not currently accurate enough for anything other than extremely simple applications, such as scrolling or swiping through pages.
The butt controller is about as simple as the tongue controller. It’s made out of a repurposed bathroom scale that can turn a character left or right when you rotate your body, and can move the character forward, backward, or side-to-side when weight is put on corresponding areas of the scale. While obviously hilarious, this controller seems less practical than the mouth-mouse since you’ll have to constantly fidget in your seat in order to manipulate anything on-screen. However, as shown in the video above, it does appear to work accurately when paired with a mouse.
Either controller is not quite made for serious gaming input — at least, not at the moment. The inherent humor of butts aside, the controller is actually the result of a clever train of thought. In most gaming situations, we’re almost always sitting down — using our rear ends as much as we’re using our hands, eyes, and ears — so game developers would want to capitalize on that untapped area. Basically, your butt has a lot of unused potential.
Aside from giving gamers more methods of input, these ideas could also benefit disabled gamers. Using your tongue or fidgeting in your chair could be an acceptable alternative when you can’t move your arms or fingers, and many games don’t require the split-second timing that a tongue or butt controller couldn’t provide.
For now, though, we’ll be awaiting Valve’s Steam Controller rather than some kind of lick-and-sit paired device, but it’s nice to see Valve thinking outside of and perhaps underneath the box.
Reblogged from: extremetech.com