Samuel’s Adapted Gaming Controller | Case Study

Samuel with his controller.

Samuel sustained injuries from a motorbike accident, which has limited his leg and arm function. He has good use of his left arm and hand, but limited movement in his legs, right arm and hand due to tissue damage.

When we met him, he had tried to play Fortnite on a PS4 with a standard controller, resting it on his leg. However, it was difficult to use both sticks, face buttons and the triggers altogether, which are all vital for Fortnite.

We visited Samuel through our Loan Library Project to see if we could work with him to create a controller that would help improve his access to games. In this post we will share the techniques and equipment the SpecialEffect team used to combine to create Samuel’s controller. We will look at each difficulty that was encountered in accessing games and each solution that was used to help overcome this.

Whilst the solutions we used were combined to create a customised controller setup specific to Sam, we hope that sharing them will help show some of the range of options that are available to create a customised controller setup tailored to the needs of the individual.

The information in this article is correct at the time of writing (September 2020).

Accessing Buttons and Triggers

Difficulty: Samuel doesn’t have full use of his right hand, so he was finding it difficult to reach the buttons and triggers on the right side of the controller.

Solution: Samuel tried out an Evil Lefty PS4 Controller, which is a controller designed for single hand use. It allows easy reach to almost all the buttons by only using one hand. Samuel was able to reach the buttons using only his left hand (there is also a right-handed version available).

An Evil Lefty controller with the paddles being shown.
An Evil Controllers One-Handed Lefty Controller

Accessing Joysticks

Difficulty: Samuel couldn’t use both analogue sticks using just his left hand and did not have enough function in his right hand to use the right stick

Solution: Samuel was able to use the left joystick on the Evil Lefty PS4 Controller with his left thumb and was able to use his right hand and arm to manage a larger joystick. He tried an UltraStik, a large analogue joystick that is compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller. This worked well for him to use as the right joystick. Note that the joystick in a small box shown in the image at the top of this post is an optional part of the Evil Lefty PS4 Controller and was not used in this instance.

An UltraStik joystick.
An Xbox Adaptive Controller, which the UltraStik was plugged into.

Mounting the Controls

Difficulty: Samuel was unable to hold the controller with both hands.

Solution: A Trabasack Curve Connect lap tray and a Maxess Mount were used to secure the controller, so Samuel didn’t need to hold it, thereby using all his hand function for the controls.

The Trabasack Curve Connect is a lap tray that has a surface that you can attach hook Velcro to. This allowed us to securely attach the Maxess Mount, a wedge usually used to mount an accessibility switch at an angle, via the Velcro on its underside. The Evil Lefty Controller could then be attached onto the Maxess Mount with more Velcro at an angle where Samuel could easily access the left side of the controller.

A small Maxess Mount being held.
A small Maxess Mount
A Trabasack Curve Connect lap tray with a Lefty Evil PS4 controller mounted on a small Maxess Wedge.
A Trabasack Curve Connect lap tray with a Lefty Evil PS4 controller mounted on a small Maxess Mount

Connecting to the Console

Difficulty: An Xbox Adaptive Controller needed to work with Samuel’s PS4 to use the larger joystick for the right analogue stick.

Solution: We were able to use the Xbox Adaptive Controller with the PS4 by plugging it into an adaptor called a Titan Two. This allows both the Evil Lefty controller and the Xbox Adaptive Controller to be used simultaneously on a PS4, in addition to an Xbox One controller. An official PS4 controller must also be plugged into the Titan Two as the PS4 requires verification that an official controller is plugged in. This will stop the Xbox Adaptive Controller from cutting out. The Evil Lefty Controller is a modified official controller, so this can be used for verification.

A close up of a Titan Two adapter with two USB-C cables leading into the front and a micro USB into the back.
Titan Two adapter

We were able to resolve the difficulties Samuel was having by creating a controller setup to enable him to play successfully. As we mentioned at the start, while these solutions were specific to Samuel, we hope that sharing them will help show the range of options available to create a customised controller setup tailored to the needs of the individual. We will remain in contact with Sam to help tweak his setup as needed.

If you have any questions about this controller setup, please visit the Contact Us page.

Equipment List

Below is a list of the equipment used, with an unaffiliated link to the manufacturer:

Xbox Adaptive Controller:

Titan Two Adapter:

Evil Controllers PS4 One-Handed Controller:

OneSwitch UltraStik:

Trabasack Curve Connect:

Maxess Mount: