We have seen a handful of attempts to add analog control to touchscreen devices, but these solutions are either bulky or take up a significant amount of the screen. Precise control is nothing if you can’t see what you’re controlling. Fortunately, there’s a new joystick being developed that sits not on a mobile device’s touchscreen, but on its camera.
Developed by the ever-developing folks at Keio University in Japan, the 3-axis analog joystick uses GelForce, a simple yet effective tracking system that uses colored markers. The markers are located on the inside of the joystick. When the joystick is moved, the markers also move and are deformed. The camera tracks the changes to the markers, and software installed in the device interprets these changes as movement.
It might be a bit awkward to use this system for games with dual-stick controls, but it’s way better than nothing. In addition, a special SDK would need to be integrated to any games to make them compatible. With a joystick like this maybe I can finally play Robokill 2 for more than 5 minutes without getting pissed off.