Though my mom always told me that video games were rotting my brain, everyone should have the equal access to brain rotting material of all kinds, regardless of physical disabilities. For that reason, Caleb Kraft, Community Editor at Make, has picked up the enviable habit of helping the disabled community develop 3D printed solutions for playing video games.
Previously, Kraft 3D printed a couple of personally-tailored mods for his friend with muscular dystrophy, Jay, to be able to play Xbox One with his uniquely shaped hands. Designed in conjunction with Jay, the 3D prints made a mass manufactured game controller fit his hands in just such a way that he had less difficulty using the trigger and thumbstick on his controller.
Now, Kraft has posted an update to his controller design that makes Xbox gaming even more accessible to the community with which he works. To address the many people who have urged Kraft to improve the Xbox One thumbstick, the Make editor has designed a modular system to fit the needs of every users’ own hands. The component is a simple loop, in which a player can insert their finger, attached to a nub, allowing users to remove the loop and modify it. The components are currently up at Thingiverse, for anyone interested in printing them. Those without printers, however, can contact Kraft directly to have him print them on his Lulzbot TAZ 4 and send them out to their doorsteps.
As I wrote when covering Kraft’s previous project, 3D printing’s ability to tailor products to specific users has a special purpose in the disabled community. Mass manufactured goods do not fit every consumer, regardless of their abilities, and, with 3D printing, there is awesome potential, demonstrated expertly by Kraft, to make such goods address the needs of the majority of consumers. If Microsoft, already a fan of 3D printing, doesn’t jump on Kraft’s project to better tailor their controllers to the disabled, they’re missing out on a great opportunity.