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Engineer Develops 3D Printed Nintendo Switch Adapters So Disabled Friend Can Still Play ‘The Legend of Zelda’

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We talk a lot about 3D printed prosthetics here at 3DPrint.com, whether it’s the work of heartwarming volunteer organization e-NABLE, redefining what ‘prosthetic’ really means, or patient-specific prosthetics. By using 3D printing technology, physicians have the ability to make prosthetics with the necessary fit and function for specific patients. Additionally, there are many 3D printed prosthetic devices that were made specifically to help people complete a myriad of tasks, from playing the violin and riding a horse to throwing a baseball and simply brushing your teeth or playing video games. But as we all know, prosthetic devices can be expensive, and despite best efforts, not everyone is always able to afford one.

This is where the creativity of makers, combined with 3D technology, can really shine – helping the disabled by creating objects, devices, and adapters for people’s issues that are too specific or expensive to be fixed by conventional solutions.

[Image: Eurogamer]

This winter, we heard about a photographer who does not have the use of his hands, and the design engineer who developed a 3D printed camera rig for him so he would be able to continue taking the photographs he loves so dearly. The CEO of Xplorer 3D once traveled to Bahrain to design a 3D printed prosthetic tool, complete with custom attachments, that helps a 9-year-old boy with no arms complete all sorts of tasks on his own, like combing his hair, writing his name, and eating. 3D printing was used to develop a Universal Wireless Switch to give disabled people more access to computers, as well as a multifunctional walker with hand brakes and a removable basket, and even a small device to help stabilize a rifle.

Mechatronics engineer Julio Vazquez, known on Thingiverse as Vexelius, recently used 3D printing to create Joy-Con adapters for the Nintendo Switch gaming system that allows disabled gamers to play using just one hand. The Nintendo Switch, and its Joy-Con controllers, are incredibly versatile, which helped make this unique project possible.

He didn’t invent the adapters for himself, but actually developed them for a friend who still wanted to enjoy The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild video game after an unfortunate accident.

Vazquez explained to Eurogamer, “This adapter was developed by request of my friend Rami Wehbe, who wanted a way to play Zelda: Breath of the wild using only his left hand; as he lost the ability to control his right hand due to a cerebrovascular accident.”

He ended up making two separate designs for the Joy-Con controllers, which he 3D printed on a Flashforge Creator Pro. The first resembles Nintendo’s existing Joy-Con Grip, but pushes the controller halves together, with no empty space in between, so it’s easier for a one-handed player to reach across to the other side. This condensed layout also adds two extended bumpers for the shoulder buttons.

The second design is a slotted adapter, which uses the modular nature of the controllers to its advantage by putting the two pieces at right angles to each other. This enables a one-handed player to use their thumb on the left side of the controller, while their fingertips are able to reach around and work all of the buttons on the right.

“This current design was the result of almost a week of research and lots of failed prototypes, as I had to ensure that it would be easy to print, lightweight and practical,” Vazquez said. “After testing that it works properly, we decided to share it, so that it can be of help to other gamers in a similar situation.”

Combined with the game’s gyroscopic aiming and the motion controls on the Switch, it seems that the 3D printed adapters work like a charm for playing Zelda, and maybe even other games, one-handed. Vazquez has the files for both adapter versions available on Thingiverse, so you can print out your own or order one that’s pre-made; he’s also updated the design already.

“After one week of testing, Rami found an issue with the original model: Due to the size of his hand, he couldn’t reach some buttons comfortably,” Vazquez wrote on Thingiverse. “So, I made a second version, which reduces the space between both Joy-Cons.”

V1 of the design has a 90° angle between the Joy-Cons, and is recommended for gamers with bigger hands and longer fingers, while V2 has a 45° angle between them, and also reduces the space, which makes them easier to hold; this version is for children and gamers with smaller hands.

We’ve seen 3D printed stands and accessories for the Nintendo Switch before, but this is the first time we’ve seen a 3D printed adapter that allows for one-handed play…it’s just another one of the many examples of innovative, caring people using the technology to make someone’s life better. Discuss in the Nintendo Switch forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: The Verge]

 

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