Video game controllers just like video games themselves are usually considered as playthings by the general public, just a toy to control another toy, that’s what is the general reputation of game controllers is. But those who actually play games and are involved with the industry know that these controllers are actually a product of very sophisticated tech and user friendly design at the very least.
The current generation controllers are the most ergonomic control devices that offer so many intuitive input options that today all games seem crafted out for these controllers. These controllers have a very interesting history almost as old as the history of video games itself. The real development for this intuitive tech is that over the last few years these controllers have been transformed for use outside of the video game industry. The modern day controllers are used in controlling real world technologies, used to control software and robotic hardware alike, they are used for controlling military and medical bots and machines. The latest addition to this series is a laser weapon recently announced by the US navy, which is guided using a modified version of these game controllers.
These controllers have had a very long journey through history they developed from a set of dials controlling movement to a joystick and push buttons to four directional pads and buttons mounted on small boards to today’s game controllers and are still advancing in terms of sensitivity, feedback and ergonomics. These devices now are so advanced in terms of ergonomics and control tech that they are used by medical practitioners as a way to control technology like the BodyViz which is visualization software for 3DMRI and CAT scan. Doctors are said to find the controller more intuitive than the previously used mouse and keyboard method.
The American advanced tech company iRobot has found use for the game controllers in the military service. At iRobot the Pack bot bomb disposal robot which was controlled by a PCC (Portable Command console) was replaced by a sturdy laptop and a Playstation Controller which far better in terms of ergonomics and much lighter than the bulky PCC. And the younger military operators easily adapt to their much familiar controllers. Even so the iRobot uses a highly modified version of the controller specially built for their purpose and are much costlier than your average controllers but they work on the basic principle of the average game controllers.
And not just the physical controllers the touch screen interface that mimics these controllers and the motion sensors such as the Xbox Kinect sensor are being used in controlling these modern techs. At NASA they are developing a control system for a robotic arm using the Oculus Rift and a Kinect sensor controls.
All of these technological fields are using one or the other form of the same video game controllers as intuitive methods to control their tech that we in our minds held as a toy. So I guess it’s time to respect the capabilities of the video game technology applications. May be soon these technologies would become ‘universal tech remote’ so you better pick up your controllers and start practising otherwise you’ll be left behind.
You can read more on this topic here : The Surprising Use Of Game Controllers