LEGO controllers for prototyping; fast, cheap and fun

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Janne V. Kujala, Asko Soukka and Matti Katila

We show how custom controllers can be built cheaply, with minimal requirements for mechanical and electronic skills, by using a standard computer mouse and LEGO bricks. The utilization of commodity components allows anyone to reproduce a particular design without any tools and to easily prototype new designs.

Our main contribution is a simple, practical and reliable way of interfacing LEGO bricks to an optomechanical computer mouse. The internal mechanism of the mouse is utilized as far as possible, and a small rubber tyre is used to drive the mechanism from the outside, pushed towards the workings with a small pressure.

We present two controllers as examples of what is possible within this framework: a controller with two levers and a horizontal wheel, and a joystick-like 2D controller with enough friction to retain the position it is set to.

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