The inspiration behind this project was to create an alternative controller to explore virtual environments, particularly to help increase the sense of immersion in that environment. As an extended motivation, it can also be used by people who might not be able to easily use more traditional controllers, such as a keyboard and mouse, or a console controller.
This chair builds off of the work by SparkFun, and their design of a joystick, which implements two potentiometers to collect analog data about the rotation about X and Y axis.
Using XBee Modules (seen below), the chair will be able to send the movement data over a wireless network to the main computer using a Fio micro controller and an XBee USB Dongle (Nickels for scale because no one ever uses them).
With this, the joystick housing for the chair still needs to be constructed. It should look something like the following which is based on the joystick listed above:
I have decided that a series of wood, screws, and springs would work best to modify an office chair into the joystick chair.
This chair model was chosen for it’s simplicity and the fact that it was not already pre-made, so it would be easier to modify. Below are all of the materials I have bought to construct the joystick. A few springs and hooks should work to keep the chair upright when not in use. As it seen in the left image, the chair’s base is is not attached yet, so a new base for the joystick will need to be creates, as well as a new place to attach the original base.
For wood I decided to go with Aspen for the planks (because it was cheap and the signs at Lowe’s said that it was good for furniture) and Popular wood (what ever that means) for the dowel, which will provide the actual stick for the joystick. As you can see from the image below, the wood will need to be cut before it can be used. Once the wood it cut I will need to print more components so that it will act like the joystick detailed above, as well as be able to use the potentiometers.
For future, I will need to build the joystick housing and attach it to the chair. I will also need to solder the components together where needed and finish programming the chair to work with the computer.
I will provide more updates once building begins.