CES 2023: Sony Unveils Project Leonardo, a PS5 Controller for Players with Disabilities


Edited By: Shaurya Sharma

Last Updated: January 05, 2023, 10:29 IST

A step toward more accessible gaming for players with disabilities. (Image: Sony)

Project Leonardo is designed to allow players with disabilities to easily, comfortably, and for longer periods, play games without the need for additional setup or configuration.

Sony at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023, has revealed a new controller project called the Project Leonardo—a highly customizable controller kit for the PlayStation 5 that is designed to make gaming more accessible for players with disabilities. 

Project Leonardo is designed to allow players with disabilities to easily, comfortably, and for longer periods, play games without the need for additional setup or configuration.

PlayStation’s new Project Leonardo controller aims to address common problems experienced by gamers with poor motor control like trouble holding a controller for an extended period of time, having trouble accurately pressing small buttons or triggers, or having trouble positioning fingers in the right place on a standard controller.

It is designed to be a split, symmetrical controller that allows players to customize the placement of the analog sticks. Its flat, hands-free design can be used on a tabletop or wheelchair tray, and it can be secured to AMPS mounts or tripods for added stability.

Project Leonardo Key Features:

Hardware Customization – The kit includes a variety of swappable components, such as analog stick caps and buttons of different shapes and sizes, which can be used to create various control layouts, and players can fine-tune the distance between the analog stick and the gamepad can be adjusted to the player’s preference. These components allow players to find a configuration that works for their individual strength, range of motion, and physical needs.

Software customizations – It also has the ability to map buttons to any supported function, multiple buttons can be mapped to the same function, and store multiple control profiles, players can easily switch between their preferred settings and profiles at any time. 

Dynamic Nature – Project Leonardo can be used alone or in combination with additional Project Leonardo or DualSense controllers. Up to two Project Leonardo controllers and one DualSense controller can be paired to function as a single virtual controller, allowing players to customize their setup or play collaboratively with others.

Sony, in a blogpost, said, “For example, players can augment their DualSense controller with a Project Leonardo controller or use two Project Leonardo controllers on their own.” And, if required,  “A friend or family member can also assist by helping to control the player’s game character with a DualSense controller or a second Project Leonardo controller. The controllers can be dynamically turned on or off and used in any combination.”

The controller also features four 3.5mm AUX ports that will allow users to connect external switches and accessibility accessories.

“Because players can customize Project Leonardo according to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations. The controller can also flexibly accept combinations of accessibility accessories to create a unique aesthetic. I am excited that the design will be completed through collaboration with players rather than presenting them with a single form factor.” said, So Morimoto, Designer, Sony Interactive Entertainment.

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