Adapter turns power wheelchairs into Xbox controllers

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
AbleGamers, YouTube

The Xbox Adaptive Controller already makes gaming more accessible if you're in a wheelchair, but wouldn't it be better if you could use the wheelchair itself as a controller? You can now. AbleGamers Charity has unveiled a Freedom Wing Adapter that lets you use the joystick on a power wheelchair as an Xbox One controller. The design revolves around the combination of an adapter board and an Adafruit Feather M4 that translates the input from the joystick into commands the Adaptive Controller can understand.

The results speak for themselves. As you can see in the clip below, the Freedom Wing is good enough to handle some Rocket League. You might not want to handle a complex first-person action title with this, but it's considerably more elegant than some solutions.

You might not have to wait to use one, either. AbleGamers is already handing out its adapter thanks to grants, and it's working with its partner A.T. Makers to publish details for making one yourself. All told, it's estimated to cost just $30 to $35 (besides the price of the Adaptive Controller) to make a polished device with relatively little expertise. Many wheelchair-using gamers could soon have an easy time playing Xbox titles with an interface they already know, and the technology should work for both other consoles and PCs.