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Meet the Aimpad: the prototype peripheral bringing analog control to WASD


You are a PC gamer. When the subject comes up, you’ll argue mouse and keyboard over analog controller to the death, and mean it.

But then there’s that thing you do in Project Cars when the 360 pad’s plugged in, squeezing the right trigger just so to come to a perfect, unscreeching halt. And during Assassin’s Creed loading screens, you’ll try your utmost to cycle through Kenway’s run animations as smoothly as possible.

It’s okay to say it: analog control is nice. Aimpad’s promise is that you won’t have to leave behind the keyboard to enjoy it.

The Aimpad is a peripheral that you plug into a USB slot. Designed to sit under your left hand, it looks like a roughly-cut segment of keyboard, and functions much the same.

But an infrared LED replaces the binary button beneath each key, and measures precisely how far down you’re pressing according to how much light is reflected.

“The computer mouse has evolved from using a ball, to an optical sensor, and finally a laser,” write Aimpad’s makers. “These advancements in mouse technology have made an actual gaming improvement in the way we play PC games. We can aim with much better precision using a laser mouse than we can with a ball mouse.

“There have not been any similar improvements to keyboard technology that provide any meaningful improvement for controlling PC games. Until now.”

The problem with any new piece of hardware is developer support – but the makers of Aimpad reckon they’ve smoothly circumvented that issue by bundling the pad with a Pinnacle Game Profiler license.

PGP allows the Aimpad to be recognised as a DirectInput or XInput gamepad, a normal keyboard, or a mouse, according to the quirks of the game you’ll be using it with. It’ll enable granular adjustment of key sensitivity – and crucially, stop games like Skyrim from disabling the mouse when using a gamepad.

Using the software, we’ll be able to save specific profiles to individual games, to be loaded up automatically on start-up.

Why the future tense? The Aimpad is currently a prototype, and its creators have decided it needs Kickstarter backing to become a commercial product.

A guarantee of the final product is pricey, at $119 minimum – though a variety of lower tiers let interested parties contribute in return for arbitrary rewards and a warm, fuzzy feeling. Are you tempted at all?