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Valve’s Bonkers Division experiments with tongue and arse control

Valve tongue controller

You don’t discover genius without venturing out to the farthest realms of insanity first. This would seem to be the mantra of Valve’s experimental hardware division, who presumably toyed with Matrix-style neck jacks before settling on thumb track-pad controllers for the Steam Machine. In a gleeful insight into the minds of Valve’s brightest thinkers, a couple of new videos show off prototype controllers operated by the least likely areas of your body: your tongue and your bum.  

A frankenstein job made up of a set of bathroom scales and an Xbox 360 pad, the posture-based controller (AKA the butt board) allows you to navigate games by leaning in the direction you want to travel in, as well as swivelling left or right for turning. Valve engineer mastermind Ben Krasnow guides you through how he created it, and shows off how the controller works in a game of Borderlands 2. He notes that obviously the controller is no replacement for WASD in a typical environment, but suggests its implementation in a VR simulation would be useful.

Even more bizarre is the tongue controller, created by ripping the guts out of an optical mouse and sticking it into the roof of your mouth on a retainer. This experiment turns in pretty lackluster results compared to the butt board, thanks to the lack of precision your tongue can provide. Still, Krasnow seems upbeat about it, again suggesting VR as a potential use.

We’ve all heard the VR thing before though. So I put it to you: what sort of games would you like to play using only these controllers? Eternal glory in the comments awaits for anyone who can come up with something more demented than this.

Thanks, Rock, Paper, Shotgun.