Controls aren't necessarily one of the first things people think of when it comes to video games. Usually first considerations include things like story and graphics quality, but it doesn't take long to come around to controls.
To that end, the folks at Arduino yesterday launched the Esplora controller, adding to their range of controllers geared toward the customization crowd.
The Arduino Esplora may not look like much, but those who can't get enough of customizing their own hardware will be pretty happy. It's packing in its own processor, is Arduino-compatible and boasts three-axis accelerometer, joystick and buttons, a slider, an RGB LED, light and temperature sensors – and even a buzzer.
Everything needed to use it is already in place, so it can be immediately plugged into a computer and played without dealing with breadboards or soldering. Users, however, will need a copy of the Super Tux Cart video game, which at last report, was free anyway.
But the Esplora isn't just a gaming device; it can be engineered to replace a mouse or a keyboard, even allowing for more specialized controls. The the controller can be used as a control source for music software, for 3D modeling systems, or even for word processors. Perhaps its only drawback is its lack of ability to connect to Arduino Shield, as it doesn't have connectors for it.
Those interested can pick it up today for 41.90 Euros, plus tax, or step up to the Retail version for an additional 3 Euros.
While it may seem beyond the pale to try and use a game controller for word processing, the fact that it can be done in the first place on an Arduino Esplora is certainly noteworthy in its own right. Gaming on a keyboard is a well-accepted standard, but keyboarding on a game controller is a completely different animal.
Still, it's clear the custom community has quite a piece of hardware on its hands with the Arduino Esplora, one that will likely see still more uses as the customization begins in earnest.
Edited by Braden Becker