September 23, 2023
Games Controllers

From Gaming to Disasters: The Surprising Applications of Game Controllers

A recent tragedy involving the use of a repurposed gaming controller has sparked discussions about the use of video game hardware in various fields. While the incident raised concerns, gaming controllers have found innovative applications beyond gaming, including bomb disposal, military training, medtech, and even space exploration. Let’s explore some of the surprising ways gaming controllers are being used in different industries.

  1. Bomb disposal:

Bomb disposal teams have been utilizing robots operated by gaming controllers for safer inspections of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The Xbox controller, known for its intuitive design, has been employed by the military in operating bomb disposal robots, enabling operators to remotely defuse bombs while maintaining a safe distance.

  1. Military training and vehicles:

Video game controllers have become cost-effective alternatives to dedicated hardware for military training purposes. The US Air Force employs them in virtual simulators, while the US Army uses them in the Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer to train armoured vehicle crews. Surprisingly, even submarines have implemented Xbox controllers to operate devices such as the photonic mast, enhancing their operational efficiency.

  1. Medtech:

Controllers resembling gaming equipment are making waves in the field of medical technology. The Monarch Platform, a flexible endoscopy robot, allows doctors to navigate hard-to-reach areas using video game-style controllers. Additionally, Xbox controllers have been utilized in virtual surgery simulations, providing medical students with a more immersive and intuitive training experience.

  1. Space exploration:

NASA has been exploring the use of modified game controllers to operate robots and spacecraft. While this application is still in the experimental phase, the idea of using game controllers to operate contraptions in space holds promise. As technology advances, gaming controllers could play a role in future missions to Mars and beyond.

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The use of gaming controllers in non-gaming industries has demonstrated their versatility and adaptability. From bomb disposal and military training to medtech and space exploration, these controllers have proven their worth in providing intuitive control interfaces for complex systems. While the recent tragedy involving the Titanic expedition raises concerns, it’s important to recognize the broader range of applications where gaming controllers have brought innovation and efficiency.