30 Years of Helping Disabled Gamers

Retired engineer Ken Yankelevitz has been making custom video game controllers for quadriplegics for 30 years. He designs joysticks and other devices that can be controlled by a tongue, a puff of air, or whatever method is most useful to each client, giving them the ability to play, to compete, and to engage in online communities.
But with the retired Bozeman engineer's 70th birthday approaching, disabled gamers say they fear there will be no one to replace Yankelevitz, who has sustained quadriplegic game controllers for 30 years almost entirely by himself. The retired aerospace engineer hand makes the controllers with custom parts in his Montana workshop, offering them at a price just enough to cover parts.

Gamers and gaming advocates say the Yankelevitz controller's functionality and price is unrivaled for quadriplegics.

Yankelevitz began his work on mouth-operated video game controllers in 1981 for the Atari game console to give quadriplegic people a chance to engage with one of the few activities open to them. The design was simple on the early models; users only needed to be able to push a few buttons and move a joystick through their controllers.

Over time Yankelevitz adapted the designs to more complex consoles including the XBox and PlayStation platforms. He has no formal relationship with any of the companies, saying they aren't interested because there isn't a sufficient market..

Yankelevitz's work is not profitable, but it means the world to the 800 or so people he has made controllers for over the years. Link to story. Link to website. -via Boing Boing

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

If your eye offends you pluck it out. Perhaps people with disabilities have a leg-up not being able to satiate their petty desires, as with playing video games. This undoubtedly forces them into an abyssmal state of self-reflection, whereby the desire and the reality of not being able to fulfill that desire go toe-to-toe in an existentialist showdown for the soul. Most of us can very easily satiate our desires, especially in the modern world, which makes such a showdown highly improbable. Instead we will form a habit of self-satisfaction and become slaves to desire, which will put further control in the hands of the amoral and non-human corporations, which they can use to further bolster desire for their transient and useless products through highly sophisticated public relations campaigns. And the universal vice of self pinches ever tighter around our hearts. With only one forseeable release, consume more!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Well, Ben Heckendorn might be able to pick up the slack. He's made one-handed 360 controllers and did a one-handed Guitar Hero/Rock Band guitar setup. I'd like to see him do a no-hand step for someone.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
If there isn't a sufficient market, you would think that the big console names would supply these free for those needing and wanting them, purely out of goodwill and it would bring good attention their way.

I watched a program recently where they found out that each PS3 sold is actually sold at a loss because they make their money up in other ways.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"30 Years of Helping Disabled Gamers"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More