US Navy to control submarine periscopes with an Xbox Controller

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You’re probably familiar with using your Xbox Controller to play Call of Duty or Forza in your living room, but the government has come up with another (much cooler) use for the device. Noted by Digital Trends, the US Navy is looking to replace the joystick controllers on their new Virginia-class submarines with Microsoft’s Xbox controller.

The reasoning behind the switch to the Xbox Controller is rather complex, but it is mainly due to the fact that some junior officers found the current joystick control system too clunky and heavy. Basically, the current joystick system (valued at $38,000) which are used to control the periscopes, photonic masts, and 360-degree cameras on board the submarine is not working out well for some crew members.

As a result, Lockheed Martin experimented with other systems like multi-touch tables and Kinect, but the $30 Xbox Controller was the winner amongst sailors and the government.  Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub explains.

“That joystick is by no means cheap, and it is only designed to fit on a Virginia-class submarine…I can go to any video game store and procure an Xbox controller anywhere in the world, so it makes a very easy replacement.”

The Navy has extensively tested the system and plans to put it into use on the USS Colorado in November, and other Virgina-class submarines in the future. While a bit more serious than using the controller to battle it out on Call of Duty, using the Xbox Controller to control an actual real-life submarine is a boy’s dream come true. Do you envision any other uses for Xbox Controller? Let us know your thoughts below!