QuadStick controller takes to Kickstarter, makes gaming accessible to quadriplegics

Wednesday, 5th February 2014 05:19 GMT By Brenna Hillier

QuadStick uses a joystick, four sip and puff straw sensors, a lip position sensor, a push switch and voice commands to make game controls accessible to those without the use of their limbs.


The peripheral is designed for quadriplegic gamers in particular, and is currently on Kickstarter, with creator and former Cisco engineer Fred Davison seeking $10,000.

According to the device’s description, it uses a 32-bit ARM processor to convert signals from its various sensors to Bluetooth and USB signals understood by Android, PC and PlayStation 3. It can also be used with the Xbox and Xbox 360 via a third-party adapter.

The QuadStick houses a flash drive, so users can configure it meet their needs; this is important since not everybody is comfortable with the same range of motions.

This customisation is quite flexible, with users able to create voice commands that trigger quite complicated commands that would require several rapid or simultaneous button pushes on a control pad.

The QuadStick has been extensively tested as its designer worked to find a mouthpiece that would be comfortable during long gaming sessions, and five working prototypes have been built to date, with all necessary scripts and firmware found to be stable.

You can see a demonstration of the device below.

If accessibility in gaming is a new topic for you, you might want to visit AbleGamers and SpecialEffect for more information on how you can help – especially if you’re a developer.

Thanks, Eurogamer.



  1. TheWulf

    That’s really cool!

    As a disabled person, myself, I well understand the pains of being ignored by the games industry. I have optic nerve damage, which means that I’m completely unable to read tiny text. A lot of the time, software like Windows Magnifier is the only reason I can still even play games. I also have motor control problems, so I can hit keys often without meaning to.

    And then I have to carefully use sound normalisation for everything to be just louder than my tinnitus, but not too loud as to cause my tinnitus to spike and go crazy. (My tinnitus is caused by the filter function of the executive reasoning centre of the brain just not working. In other words, I can’t ignore/filter anything, and when my mind makes ‘phantom sounds,’ as everyone’s does, I hear them loud and clear.)

    So I’m lucky, really. There’s software out there that still provides me with a degree of quality of life. But because of the multitude of problems I do suffer with on a daily basis, I can empathise with anyone who’s suffering. If this were a Kickstarter,, I’d throw my money at it despite not needing one.

    That’s the thing. When you’ve suffered because of a bodily disability and health issue, when you’ve been put through a lot of pain and weirdness… you don’t want to see anyone else go through that. Not even your worst enemy. Even just the tinnitus is enough to drive me crazy, some days.

    So,in my life’s experience, there’s no more caring a person than a disabled person. They just have more empathy. For the record, this is why I have ‘issues’ a lot of the time with violent games. Even though it’s a simulation, the thought of causing another to suffer is upsetting to me. Even if they are this supposed one-dimensional evil. I just can’t do it. I guess that’s the curse of being healthy? You simply have no point of reference for empathy when you’re healthy.

    That’s been my experience, anyway.

    But usually any kind of disabled person can empathise with any other kind of disabled person. Empathy is just on overdrive, there. This, conversely, is why I do tend to speak out against things that I perceive as causing suffering, and why I’m so sensitive to sociopathy, because it’s an opposite state.

    I internalise guilt a lot. The reason I don’t like WoW? I watched it destroy the lives of two very, very good friends. I couldn’t stop it. I felt completely helpless. And I hold the guilt of that helplessness as my own. So I will keep hammering on about how addictive and harmful it is, not to troll as I’m sure some people have gotten it into their heads, but because of empathy. I don’t want to hear of it destroying more lives. It’s like smoking, drinking, and gambling, really.

    So, yeah. Total bleeding heart. I can’t help it. It’s my nature.

    Stuff like this, though, just brightens my day. I love seeing the quality of life improved for others. It’s nice knowing that there’s another tool out there for them to be able to enjoy themselves more. When I got my hands on fullscreen, scrollable magnification, the list of things I could do and play grew exponentially. So I understand what it’s like to have a tool like that provided to you.

    This really makes me happy.

    #1 11 months ago

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