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    Project Challenge

    We currently have two different individuals living with quadriplegia that are looking to control remote machines.

    The first is Jim, who used to be a pilot for Westjet. He uses the LipSync, an open source mouth operated mouse 7, to control his computer. “I am trying to make a remote control to drive a remote control car – the little kind, not the real kind ;-). I need help to take apart the remote control for a small racecar and try do adapted to a sip and puff. I am thinking of using a LipSync potentiometer to make it work. What I would need to do is get the data when the LipSync moves left and right, up and down as well as the information for the sip and puff. The sip and puff would be for speed control – soft puff to increment the speed, hard puff for full speed then soft sip to slow down hard sip to stop. That would work well to control the car to turn left and right. If you could give me a bit of help or direct me the right way to find the information that would be great. I know you drive the information through an Arduino and that would be simple to do. But, the remote control for the racecar is simply 2 potentiometers – one for speed, the other for direction. The ultimate goal is to use a LipSync to control a radio control airplane. The movement of the LipSync would be up/down, left/right in the sip and puff would control speed. I know this is doable!”

    The second is Don, who works surveying properties. He also uses the LipSync, an open source mouth operated mouse 7, to control his computer. “For my work, I need to inspect buildings and properties. Using drones to inspect buildings and their components is becoming more common in the real estate industry; however, I am unable to use the controller due to quadriplegia. I was hoping to modify a LipSync to be a controller for the drone, and need to sort out a way to control the X, Y and Z axis of the devices, as well as the rotation. I was thinking that using a LipSync would give me two axis, and then a sip or puff on the mouthpiece could toggle it to other axis.”

    There is a version of the LipSync that works with the XBOX adaptive controller so that may serve as a starting point in simulations and testings, but the goal is to create as direct of a user interface as possible to the machine controllers.

    Main objectives

    • Hack existing opensource mouth operated joysticks as a emulate the input of remote control
    • Develop Instructables-style documentation so that the joystick and assembly can be made by a moderately skilled “Makers” or STEM students.
    • Develop an easy-to-follow start-up guide and user guide
    • Start with a remote control ground vehicle (simpler user controls), and then build off that success for flying vehicles.



    This project was taken on during a Hackathon, which made progress towards a functional prototype. The team developed a receiver board that was connected to digital potentiometers. The digital potentiometers were then connected in place of the analog joysticks on the drone’s remote control.

    Files and instructions here:

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