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Adaptive controller for a Special Needs User

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Adaptive controller for a Special Needs User

Old 08-27-2020, 05:56 PM
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Default Adaptive controller for a Special Needs User

I am looking for info on adapting an rc car transmitter for a special needs person. The man has partial control of only his left hand. (cannot use his right at all) I was wondering if there is a single joystick that could control both speed and direction of an rc car. If a single joystick is not possible, I wonder if its possible to make the speed be controlled by a fixed "dial." Maybe adjustable from 1 to 10. You would set the speed to a certain number and then use a joystick to control only the steering. Please let me know if anyone has done this or knows if it is possible. I know of several other people with Muscular Distrophy that would also be interested in adapting rc cars. Thanks for any help you can give.
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Old 08-27-2020, 06:30 PM
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Airplane transmitters have joysticks that move along both axis. Perhaps that would work easily enough?
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Old 08-27-2020, 07:12 PM
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Curtis Youngblood, a world champion help pilot, used to create his own single stick radios for flying helicopters. He did so by taking a potentiometer and mounting it on top of the aileron/elevator stick on the airplane radio. Of course, it didn’t hurt that both he and his dad were electrical engineers!

You could potentially do something similar by taking the wheel off of a wheel radio and attach it to the throttle of a two stick surface radio. I would try to stick with the same brand of radio if possible. In this way, you can still steer with a wheel and have throttle control with the same hand.

If you know any electronics wizards, that would be a big help. There will be some pretty delicate soldering involved.

Best of luck and way to go trying to help someone enjoy their hobby any way possible!
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Old 08-27-2020, 08:20 PM
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What I have seen done before is the use of a standard radio by one hand from an amputee. You would have to practice alot, cause you used your thumb only for steering and regular finger for throttle/brake, and the final 3 fingers to hold on to the transmitter.

The other thing you can do, is to make a chair with a foot pedal wire extender to control the throttle/brake and make a stand that holds the transmitter so that your one your free hand can control the steering. Its pretty duable, but would take some building and setup time. I once used some one else's custom chair control at a RC track in phoenix AZ and it was very neat and very cool. Took me like five laps to get the hang of it, but I was using both hands to steer sitting down and my feet for gas/brake...it was awkward to drive a 1st person view configuration to a 3rd person view from the drivers stand. I cant remember the manufacture name off the top of my head, but it was a European company of sorts
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Last edited by GT CRUSING; 08-27-2020 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 08-28-2020, 05:46 AM
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RC transmitters measure steering wheel and throttle position with potentiometers - basically any controlling device which uses potentiometers as position sensors can be hooked in place of original potentiometers - joysticks usually have two potentiometers, one for each axis, doesn't matter if it's joystick from RC controller, gamepad or big joystick for PC, so your idea is definitely possible. Even steering wheel/pedals would be possible.
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Old 08-28-2020, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by GT CRUSING View Post
What I have seen done before is the use of a standard radio by one hand from an amputee. You would have to practice alot, cause you used your thumb only for steering and regular finger for throttle/brake, and the final 3 fingers to hold on to the transmitter.
I can do this too, but the OP said the user has limited dexterity in the working hand. I think this user will need something like Steven Hawking's wheel chair. It's just a single stick, forward backward left right.
I think this is possible if you use an airplane controller with enough channels.
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Old 08-28-2020, 07:05 AM
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I have seen a drum foot pedal made into a throttle pedal and connected to the radio. And it worked really well for that person. Its been a few years so its kinda vague in my memory of how it was attached.
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Old 08-28-2020, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Jamison R View Post
I have seen a drum foot pedal made into a throttle pedal and connected to the radio. And it worked really well for that person. Its been a few years so its kinda vague in my memory of how it was attached.
i remember reading the article about that gentleman he had one arm
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Old 08-28-2020, 06:42 PM
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https://www.towerhobbies.com/product.../FUTK4200.html

Maybe just use one gimbal?
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Old 08-28-2020, 10:18 PM
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On a odd resort, you could also make an entirely foot Pedal operated system, where left foot operates brake/throttle and right foot operates left & right. It would still be tricky to learn, but its an extreme alternative if the one remaining hand cant operate controls well.

You could also also add extra pedals to adjust any trim Options. But if you do go via a pedal route, I would suggest buying some sim racing pedals, that way all you really have to do is reroute the wiring to a transmitter
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Old 08-28-2020, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by robk View Post
Pretty much this idea. But you may want the surface version which has a centered 2nd gimbal as well, the 4YWD.
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Old 08-29-2020, 01:02 AM
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I would recommend pistol radio with one of those https://mikanews.de/2020/08/26/lenkr...g/#more-256742
there are some good customizeable radios on the market.

best and GL
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Old 08-29-2020, 02:42 AM
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I would consider the use of an airplane radio, which allows for two axis movement on each stick, a modified gimbal extender or custom gimbal, and a radio tray that sits around the individual's neck to hold the radio in position. Try something like this.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/323252593578

Alternately, a standard pistol remote can be modified as well depending on the individual's remaining dexterity through the use of a large format 3D printed wheel adapter such as this one.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/774407586

Last edited by elk; 08-29-2020 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 08-29-2020, 09:13 AM
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What kind of mobility does he have on his left hand? Can he move his wrist? I was thinking about replacing the steering with an accelerometer...
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:40 AM
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As a former RC racer with muscular dystrophy type 3, when I started racing in 1994 I tried many different adaptations to my pistol grip radio. While seated on my wheelchair I'd hold the radio between my legs in an upright position, an extension came from the trigger that I could operate with my left thumb and forefinger, I was able to use the wheel with my right hand. It worked but it wasn't the best. Then I tried a Futaba Attack stick radio and it was so much easier, I moved onto an Airtronics Super Exzes and then a Futaba 2.4g stick radio. Anyway to the subject at hand, Any one of these should work.

Hitec Focus 2SS FM

https://www.ebay.com/c/1903859549

HiTec Neon-SS FM

https://www.ebay.com/i/351662870849?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=351662870849&targetid=93506506670 7&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=9004428&poi=&campa ignid=10455978145&mkgroupid=104612009660&rlsatarge t=aud-622524042918la-935065066707&abcId=2146002&merchantid=113582374&gc lid=Cj0KCQjwhb36BRCfARIsAKcXh6HRcnxW_HIAn6sJCeYqHi zfDgrEinnmX7mHRI5qkJKMmtrWOjQ5A4UaAlcREALw_wcB
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Last edited by cartix; 09-02-2020 at 08:53 AM.
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