PS3 controller over Xbee
I’m a big fan of the PlayStation 3 controller — it’s got a great feel, plenty of analog buttons and sticks, and force feedback. For controlling something with a lot of motions, like a humanoid robot, these inputs are ideal. Moreover, it’s a standard Bluetooth HID device, making it possible to connect wirelessly to any host computer that can act as a HID master (such as the Raspberry Pi, for example).
For many applications, that’s plenty good enough. However, there are two situations where it’s not: (1) your robot’s microcontroller isn’t beefy or well-supported enough to act as a HID master; or (2) you need more than 10 meters or so of range. So if your robots has Arduino for brains, or needs to be teleoperated from a significant distance away, read on.
A new project at a site called Proof of Principle solves both problems, by replacing the standard main circuit board inside the PS3 controller with a custom one that communicates over Xbee instead of Bluetooth. It all fits neatly back into the original controller case, with the exception of an antenna that sticks out the top, so it has the same feel (and nearly the same look) as the unmodified version. But with the Xbee link and external antenna, the builder gets significantly increased range, and the ability to connect to anything that can interface with an Xbee module (which means, pretty much, anything with a UART).
For more details on this cool mod, see the project page.
[via Hack a Day]