Gaming for all

North Staffordshire entrepreneurs have developed a motion detecting baseball cap that allows adults and children with limited mobility to operate a Sony Playstation.

Mike Taylor and Mark Heath teamed up with the Manufacturing Advisory Service – West Midlands and Remploy to design, develop and produce Dream Gamer, the hat controller that allows the wearer to play games on the console. The project, which started as a one-off build for the Staffordshire Round Table, resulted in products which are available online and through distributors in the UK and Sweden.

‘Our background is in commercialising technology and we’ve already enjoyed a lot of success with our Dream Racer Car that is also controlled by head movements rather than the traditional hand-held controller,’ said Taylor, who has a background in robotics and is marketing the product through his company Excitim.

The prototype was developed for a Daniel Reeves, a Stoke-on-Trent boy who was left paralysed from the neck down after a traffic accident.

Dream Gamer is an adapted PlayStation controller which uses motion sensors built into the cap to enable individuals to use head movements to control aspects of the game, such as moving left, right, forward or backwards.

Other game requirements, including the cross, triangle, circle, square and start button, have been engineered into a new switch box that makes it easier to operate.

To bring the product to market, the duo used the Manufacturing Advisory Service-West Midlands’ specialist sourcing service who put them in touch with Remploy in Coventry, an electronics and value added engineering service, and Birmingham’s Wemtech, who provided guidance on electronic compliance. Working together the two businesses have successfully installed all of the electronics into the controller and the baseball cap and Dream Gamer has gone into full production.