Handle with Care investigates the role of the game controller as the intermediary between game and player. It complicates the way that we physically communicate with virtual environments, exposing the awkwardness and intimacy of our interactions. The work, consisting of a silicone controller that takes the form of a human hand, contains embedded sensors in order to facilitate game control. The controller takes in user input (i.e. manipulating the hand) and outputs simulated actions within the game. The work inverts a situation in which one would usually control a virtual character without much difficulty, and creates a complicated “social” situation where one must control another’s physical (yet non-human) hand to access the game.
The controller was built with an Arduino Micro, and flex sensors were embedded within the fingers of the hand. The arduino takes in sensor data from these inputs and maps them to keyboard controls, allowing the hand to be compatible with PC games.
This project was sponsored by a grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.
Handle with Care has also been included in Shake That Button, an online collection of alternative controllers.