A Game Controller Designed to Operate Construction Equipment

By Andrew Liszewski on at

In the world of remote control airplanes, kids who grew up playing video games were far more adept at piloting the small aircraft after spending their childhood honing their hand-eye coordination with game controllers. And that's the same idea behind the SafetySense controller from Humanistic Robotics, except that it's designed to remotely operate giant construction equipment.

If you're surprised to hear that construction equipment can be operated remotely, don't be. Often times being outside the vehicle can provide a better—and safer—vantage point for the operator. But the remote controls used today are usually tethered to the machine by a long annoying cable, and they look like giant boxes covered in confusing switches.

A Videogame Controller Designed To Operate Construction Equipment

Think about how many times you've taken a giant dump-truck for a spin in Grand Theft Auto, and you'll start to understand why the SafetySense controllers—which look remarkably similar to what the Xbox comes with—make so much sense. According to Humanistic Robotics, it usually requires just five minutes of training for a new user to master remotely operating a large piece of machinery with the SafetySense—assuming they spent their childhood getting used to a controller in their hands.

The waterproof SafetySense is also considerably lighter and smaller than what's on the market now, it can be reconfigured to control various types of machinery. It's also wireless, which gives the operator more freedom to position themselves anywhere around the vehicle while operating it.

The controller isn't officially available yet, but testing the SafetySense is well underway with several pilot projects involving makers of large construction equipment. The safety risks are obviously much different for the operator when controlling a vehicle from afar, so testing how it's used is just as important as ensuring the hardware works. But the next time you're worried your kid is spending way too much time playing video games, just remember they could actually be training for a future career. [Humanistic Robotics]