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Tech-Savvy Dad Builds Special Game Controller for Daughter

Credit: Rory Steel via Twitter

Rory Steel went the extra mile for his daughter.

British man Rory Steel has a daughter, Ava, who lives with hereditary spastic paraplegia, which affects her speech and motor functions. Ava loves video games, but due to her condition, has difficulty using a traditional controller. It’s for this reason that Steel purchased Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed for those with special needs. Unfortunately, Ava wanted to play Nintendo Switch games, which can’t be done with an Xbox controller. Steel, who describes himself as “always a bit of a tinkerer,” set out to create a brand new controller just for his daughter.

To make this project work, Steel utilized the Xbox Adaptive Controller, pieces of a Switch controller, and a variety of miscellaneous parts ordered off of eBay, the total cost of which added up to around 110 Pounds. To accommodate Ava’s condition, Steel designed the controller with two arcade-style joysticks and a variety of large, light-up buttons. The entire process took Steel about two days and required, in his words, “serious soldering” and “wire management.”

Steel posted the final result as a video on his Twitter, showing Ava delightfully playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on her Switch. While he wasn’t shown, Steel’s son, Corben, who has the same condition as his sister, was also given a turn on the controller after his sister. Both siblings, according to Steel, gave the invention “two thumbs up.”

Steel has said that he plans to post the plans for his special controller online for anyone who wants to build their own, and plans to continue refining the design in his off time. During the project, Steel was retweeted by the founder of Microsoft’s Inclusive Tech Lab, Bryce Johnson, who gave him some tips for the controller’s construction.