The Wasdio replaces WASD (keyboard) and makes action and adventure games easier to control.
What's a Wasdio?
The Wasdio (pronounced: woz-dio) is a kick-ass new PC game controller that ends the WASD madness and puts the control in the palm of your hand, literally. You still use the speed and accuracy of the mouse, just no more keyboard.
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Instead of pressing W to move forward or A to move left, simply push forward or left on the Wasdio for the same movement. In the WASD scheme, 3 fingers are used almost 100% of the time for the same movement. By freeing up these 3 fingers, its a bit like having 8 fingers without the required dexterity.
Jokes aside, by simplifying the controls, games are no longer about mastering touch-typing under pressure, but your ability as a player to respond to dynamically changing environments.
With movement literally being controlled by the palm of your hand, your fingers can be saved for quick actions and toggles (reload, jump, melee, etc.).
What you do with your new found fingers is up to you, but there are 16 programmable buttons at hand. Your thumb rests naturally next to 4 thumb buttons and your fingers are wrapped around the 6 buttons on the handle with another 6 buttons on the base for infrequently used commands. All can be programmed using the included Profiler program (read below).
Movement That Comes Naturally
The keyboard uses fine motor skills. The Wasdio focuses on using large muscle movements and enables gamers to control games using their gross motor skills, the same way we control cars, tanks and planes -- with our hands and arms. By using a game controller and movements that our bodies were built for, games are easier to control and our gaming skills are more effective. For example, if you've ever walked into an ambush, it's common to retreat, switch weapons, and jump simultaneously to avoid death and fire back at close range. These types of maneuvers are difficult on the keyboard but fluid using the Wasdio.
Works with a Gaggle of Games
The Wasdio Profiler is software that converts movements from the Wasdio into keyboard keystrokes. With this software, The Wasdio becomes compatible with any game that uses a keyboard; this means games like all your first person shooters, RPGs, and even Minecraft can be controlled using the Wasdio.
By ship date, we plan to have over 100 game profiles included with the Wasdio, enabling you to get in the game and playing in a snap!
Need a new game profile? No worries, profiles can be created in minutes and easily shared with the community via an integrated web site.
Since we don't own every game (and don't plan to), we've created a system where the community can share profiles. This not only eliminates the need for thousands of people to create the same profile for every game, but offers a way to generate a comprehensive library that includes blockbusters and indie games alike. Past profile management systems had difficulty keeping up with the plethora of new games. By leveraging the community, we plan on avoiding this pitfall; getting you in the game as quickly as possible.
The Wasdio is a USB-HID class device enabling you to plug it in and have it work within seconds. There are no special drivers to install or periodically update; just plug it in and it works.
Right or Left Handed Design
Want to use it on your right hand? Not a problem. The ends can be swapped to have the buttons on either side of the controller.
- 16 fully programmable buttons
- 2 axis joystick (forward, back, left, right, diagonals.. etc)
- Swappable buttons for right or left-handed use
- Wasdio Profiler software included
- USB connection
- USB-HID class device (no special drivers needed)
- PC with USB port
- Windows® 8, Windows® 7, Windows® Vista
- 50 MB disk space for the Wasdio Profiler software
- Internet connection for updating game profiles
We've been developing the Wasdio for over a year now and it's come a long way! The initial proof-of-concept was created with a PVC pipe, buttons from an old toaster, wires, a breadboard, and a lot of solder.
Proof of Concepts, Prototypes and Print-Outs
After we tested the proof of concept (top left) and discovered that, "Yes, this is in fact waaay easier," we went through countless designs, iterations and printouts. We spent a lot of time working with Plasticine (modeling clay) to design a handle that fits snug in your hand and can be operated without fingers, giving you total control.
We didn't settle until we got a handle that was truly excellent. We worked through various shapes and sizes. For example, the top center photo is a working prototype that was ultimately scrapped because it didn't give us enough control in the handle, and the buttons didn't feel right. Testing with customers corroborated this.
We re-read our human factors text-books to understand palm widths, finger sizes and optimal radius for handles. Having buttons that could be felt and identified without looking was critical. We worked hard on tactile attributes, making sure that the button size and spacing felt natural.
After oodles of print-outs and testing, we refined a handle that fits perfectly and naturally in your hand!
How Far Along Are We?
We've sweated the details and now have a functioning version that works great.
- The industrial and mechanical designs are complete.
- We've completed the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) layout and programmed the micro-controller which talks to your computer.
- We've created a prototype to test that all of it works, and it does!
In short, we've done all the design work and are ready to get it manufactured.
The Wasdio Profiler, has been coded and the core functionality is solid. The user experience is a critical component and we want it to be excellent. With that in mind, there are several enhancements to the UI that we look forward to making along with features to get you playing games as fast as possible. We've coded a web service for managing and sharing game profiles so that 1,000 people don't need to make a profile for the same game. It works. We are currently designing a tighter integration into the Profiler software.
In short, we've done all the heavy lifting on the software. Now all we need is to add some polish!
What will the money be used for?
We've financed all the development work with our personal savings and now we're ready to take that next step to manufacturing. Your money will go towards all the items needed to get the Wasdio manufactured. Tooling will be our biggest expense as there are a lot of pieces that make up a controller. Additionally, there are FCC, UL, CE and other electronic testing and certifications that need to be done in order to sell in the US and abroad (all those logos on the bottom of your mouse cost money!). Again, these are all part of manufacturing.
Apart from that, there are Kickstarter fees, Amazon fees, taxes, shipping costs, printing, boxes... a cornucopia of expenses needed to deliver you an awesome controller.
We are committed to providing you a stellar gaming experience.
Thanks for your time.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We've spent a lot of time and money to get the project to where it is. We've addressed many of the risks with respect to the feasibility of the product, how it will be built and it's overall utility.
At this point, our primary challenges will be in the manufacturing of the Wasdio. As with all manufactured products, there are things that can go wrong in the process which can cause delays. Bugs and quality issues can impact the schedule by a week or more. We've allotted time to address these kinds of unanticipated issues.
We've been working with manufacturing companies that have provided a great deal of help to get us to this point. We plan to continue partnering with companies that can help us deliver a high quality product.
The analog joystick registers 128 degrees in every direction minus a few for a deadzone in the middle.
The software in turn takes that value and converts it to keystrokes which the game understands. Currently it converts it directly into a keystroke if the joystick is positioned out of the deadzone. Ex. If you push it forward it will register a “W”… if you push forward and left it registers “WA” (diagonal).
Our plan is to have it support more levels of movement by shipping time. Specifically, supporting slow movement by pulsing a “W” for those times when you need to creep up to a ledge. Also when pushed all the way forward, it will support “Run” which is often accomplished by Shift+W.
These can be mapped to different zones on the joystick. For example: 0-15% creep, 15-90% walk, 90-100% run. These would obviously be configurable enabling you to make adjustments as needed.