Open-source iControlPad2 Bluetooth controller works with just about anything
By Dave LeClair
September 14, 2012
Mobile gamers can't help but get excited at the prospect of a physical controller for playing games on a phone. Touch screens are great for certain types of games, but sometimes, you just need the feel of a real controller in your hands. The iControlPad2 hopes to bring that level of control, not just for mobile gamers, but for almost any device with Bluetooth.
When the original iContolPad was announced, mobile gamers jumped for joy at the possibilities. Sadly, it was not adopted by game developers the way we hoped, and it kind of fell by the wayside. The iControlPad2 is looking to rectify that situation by creating a device that is much more than just a controller for cell phones.
The iControlPad2 will work with almost anything. Some examples the developers provide are Raspberry Pi, Dev-board, USB stick computers, robots, hobby projects, PCs, Macs, bare PCBs/motherboards, set-top boxes and of course, phones. The implications here go far beyond a simple device for playing games in a more pleasant way on your cell phone (even though it still does that).
The controls on the iControlPad2 are extensive. First, it has a full QWERTY keyboard, which can be used for all kinds of emulation and applications. It has a digital direction pad, two analog nubs (similar to the original PSP), four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, a start button, and a select button. If that does not offer some serious options and flexibility, I don't know what does.
Things get interesting when you get down to the firmware. According to the creators, you can use the iControlPad2 with any app whether it supports it or not. According to Product 3, with the "new overlay software, you can map the iControlPad2 controls and keys to screen presses in iOS or Android." Essentially, this removes the need for developers to jump on-board with the project, and allows gamers to use this with any game their heart desires.
Sticking with the cell phone use, the device also includes a flip-around phone holder. This allows you to move the controller out of the way if you need to take a call or use your phone from something where it would be a hindrance. Flip it back, and you can start using it for your games right away.
The firmware is flashable, so if a new device comes along, support for it can be added at any time. This creates almost limitless uses and applications for this device. It is also open-source, so the hardcore members of the community can add support for almost anything.
The device has a 1360mAh rechargeable battery that should last for 10-12 hours. The project page does not provide exact size measurements, but it says it is about the same size as an iPhone 4.
Product 3 is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter. If you want to pick up your own iControlPad2, you can do so for a pledge of US$75. There are other options, such as the Raspberry Pi pack, which adds an extra $5 to the price. The project runs through October 13, and delivery of the final product is estimated for sometime in November.
The iControlPad2's Kickstarter video below provides more information and shots of it in action.