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PS3 controller over Xbee now even better

April 30, 2014

We previously reported on a very cool hack by Netherlands group Proof of Principle that crammed an Xbee transmitter neatly into a PlayStation3 DualShock controller.  The DualShock is a great controller for any robot — especially a complex one like a humanoid — because it has a very large number of analog and digital inputs, it’s comfortable to hold and use, and it even provides tactile feedback via two vibration motors.  But because it is a Bluetooth HID device, it can only be paired with something that can act as a Bluetooth master — and that’s a horribly complex task that requires a beefy computer.  A Raspberry Pi can do it (just), but something like an Arduino?  No way.  And of course Bluetooth is only good over a distance of a few meters, even in a relatively quiet environment, so it’s of little use for controlling RC vehicles from a more reasonable distance.

That’s why Proof of Principle’s project is so exciting.  And now, thanks to lots of positive feedback from makers around the world, they’re making an improved version of this Xbee-ified DualShock controller available via KickStarter.

Here’s a video demonstrating the product:

With one of these in your bin, you could very quickly and easily control pretty much any robot, over large distances, even in noisy environments.  A good handheld controller has always been one of the most difficult problems to solve, as many humanoid robot kits come with only a cheap infrared remote, and (as noted above) microcontrollers can’t host a Bluetooth device.  This solves that problem neatly.  Go check out the KickStarter, and kick in a few bucks to support this great solution!



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