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3D-Printed PS4 Controller Helps the Disabled

Ever wish you could play video games with one hand? Now you can, thanks to noted tinkerer Ben Heckendorn, who used 3D-printed parts to retrofit a PlayStation 4 controller for one-handed play.

By opening up a PlayStation 4 DualShock controller's casing, rewiring the insides and applying a bit of hot glue and some 3D-printed parts, Heckendorn turned the controller into something that a one-handed person can use to play games such as "Killzone: Shadow Fall" and "Knack."

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Heckendorn, known for his YouTube web series "The Ben Heck Show" and his video game console "mods" (short for "modifications"), demonstrated the process of modifying the PlayStation 4 controller in a recent episode.

Using a 2012 Makerbot Replicator 3D printer, Heckendorn created a new directional pad -- a set of four buttons arranged in a cross -- then attached it just below the right analog stick.

He then moved the two left-handed triggers to sit underneath the right-handed triggers on the back of the controller. That's where the left analog stick ended up too, so disabled gamers could move it by pushing it against their legs.

The finished controller was donated to the Able Gamers Foundation, which helps make gaming more accessible to persons with disabilities.

In the video, Heckendorn also stressed the advantages of a 3D printer for modifying (or "modding") gaming hardware.

"I'm able to make nice, smooth objects that fit the contours of the existing parts of the controllers, I can make custom D-pads and buttons" Heckendorn said. "It's very handy."

Heckendorn sells previously modified Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers, aptly named "Access Controllers," on his website. Each costs $350 because the process is so labor-intensive. The PlayStation 4 Access Controller will soon be available for purchase as well.

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