Joystick
Overview
 
A joystick is an input device
Input device
In computing, an input device is any peripheral used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system such as a computer or other information appliance...

 consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Joysticks, also known as 'control columns', are the principal control in the cockpit
Cockpit
A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft, from which a pilot controls the aircraft. Most modern cockpits are enclosed, except on some small aircraft, and cockpits on large airliners are also physically separated from the cabin...

 of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or side-stick
Side-stick
A side-stick or sidestick controller is an aircraft control column that is located on the side console of the pilot, usually on the righthand side, or outboard on a two-seat flightdeck...

. They often have supplementary switches on them to control other aspects of the aircraft's flight.

Joysticks are often used to control video games, and usually have one or more push-buttons whose state can also be read by the computer.
Encyclopedia
A joystick is an input device
Input device
In computing, an input device is any peripheral used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system such as a computer or other information appliance...

 consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Joysticks, also known as 'control columns', are the principal control in the cockpit
Cockpit
A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft, from which a pilot controls the aircraft. Most modern cockpits are enclosed, except on some small aircraft, and cockpits on large airliners are also physically separated from the cabin...

 of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or side-stick
Side-stick
A side-stick or sidestick controller is an aircraft control column that is located on the side console of the pilot, usually on the righthand side, or outboard on a two-seat flightdeck...

. They often have supplementary switches on them to control other aspects of the aircraft's flight.

Joysticks are often used to control video games, and usually have one or more push-buttons whose state can also be read by the computer. A popular variation of the joystick used on modern video game consoles is the analog stick
Analog stick
An analog stick, sometimes called a control stick or thumbstick, is an input device for a controller that is used for two-dimensional input. An analog stick is a variation of a joystick, consisting of a protrusion from the controller; input is based on the position of this protrusion in relation...

. Joysticks are also used for controlling machines such as cranes, trucks, underwater unmanned vehicles, wheelchairs, surveillance cameras and zero turning radius lawn mowers. Miniature finger-operated joysticks have been adopted as input devices for smaller electronic equipment such as mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

s.

Aviation

Joysticks originated as controls for aircraft aileron
Aileron
Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll, which results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector...

s and elevator
Elevator (aircraft)
Elevators are flight control surfaces, usually at the rear of an aircraft, which control the aircraft's orientation by changing the pitch of the aircraft, and so also the angle of attack of the wing. In simplified terms, they make the aircraft nose-up or nose-down...

s, and is first known to have been used as such on Louis Bleriot
Louis Blériot
Louis Charles Joseph Blériot was a French aviator, inventor and engineer. In 1909 he completed the first flight across a large body of water in a heavier-than-air craft, when he crossed the English Channel. For this achievement, he received a prize of £1,000...

's Bleriot VIII
Blériot VIII
|-References:* Devaux, Jean and Michel Marani. "Les Douze Premiers Aéroplanes de Louis Blériot". Pegase No 54, May 1989.* * -See also:...

 aircraft of 1908, in combination with a foot-operated rudder bar for the yaw control surface on the tail.

The name "joystick" is thought to originate with early 20th century French pilot Robert Esnault-Pelterie
Robert Esnault-Pelterie
Robert Albert Charles Esnault-Pelterie was a pioneering French aircraft designer and spaceflight theorist. He was born in Paris, the son of a textile industrialist...

. There are also competing claims on behalf of fellow pilots Robert Loraine
Robert Loraine
Robert Loraine was a successful Broadway and London stage actor, actor-manager and soldier who later enjoyed a side career as a pioneer aviator. Born in New Brighton, England his father was Henry Loraine and Robert made his first stage appearance in the English provinces in 1889. He served in the...

, James Henry Joyce and A. E. George
Arthur Edward George
Arthur Edward George was an accomplished sportsman, an aviation pioneer, aircraft designer, racing driver, engineer and businessman...

. Loraine is credited with entering the term "joystick" in his diary in 1909 when he went to Pau to learn to fly at Bleriot's
Louis Blériot
Louis Charles Joseph Blériot was a French aviator, inventor and engineer. In 1909 he completed the first flight across a large body of water in a heavier-than-air craft, when he crossed the English Channel. For this achievement, he received a prize of £1,000...

 school. George was a pioneer aviator who with his colleague Jobling built and flew a biplane at Newcastle in England in 1910. He is alleged to have invented the "George Stick" which became more popularly known as the joystick. The George and Jobling aircraft control column is in the collection of the Discovery Museum in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.
Joysticks were present in early planes, though their mechanical origins are uncertain. The coining of the term "joystick" may actually be credited to Loraine, as his is the earliest known usage of the term, although he most certainly did not invent the device.

History

The first electrical 2-axis joystick was probably invented around 1944 in Germany. The device was developed for use as part of the Germans' Kehl radio control transmitter system used in certain German bomber aircraft, used to guide both the rocket-boosted anti-ship missile Henschel Hs 293
Henschel Hs 293
The Henschel Hs 293 was a World War II German anti-ship guided missile: a radio-controlled glide bomb with a rocket engine slung underneath it. It was designed by Herbert A. Wagner.- History :...

, and the unpowered pioneering precision-guided munition Fritz-X, against maritime and other targets. Here, the joystick of the Kehl transmitter was used by an operator to steer the missile towards its target. This joystick had on-off switches rather than analogue sensors. Both the Hs 293 and Fritz-X used Straßburg radio receivers in them to send the Kehl's control signals to the ordnance's control surfaces.

This invention was picked up by someone in the team of scientists assembled at the Heeresversuchsanstalt in Peenemünde. Here a part of the team on the German rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 program was developing the Wasserfall missile, a variant of the V-2 rocket
V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket , technical name Aggregat-4 , was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known...

, the first ground-to-air missile
Missile
Though a missile may be any thrown or launched object, it colloquially almost always refers to a self-propelled guided weapon system.-Etymology:The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send"...

. The Wasserfall steering equipment converted the electrical signal to radio signals and transmitted these to the missile.

In the 1960s the use of joysticks became widespread in radio-controlled model aircraft systems such as the Kwik Fly produced by Phill Kraft (1964). The now-defunct Kraft Systems firm eventually became an important OEM supplier of joysticks to the computer industry and other users. The first use of joysticks outside the radio-controlled aircraft industry may have been in the control of powered wheelchairs, such as the Permobil (1963). During this time period NASA used joysticks as control devices as part of the Apollo missions. For example, the lunar lander test models were controlled with a joystick.

In many modern airliners aircraft, for example all Airbus aircraft developed from the 1980s, the joystick has received a new lease on life for flight control in the form of a "sidestick" — a controller similar to a games joystick, but which is used to control the flight, replacing the traditional yoke. The sidestick saves weight, improves movement and visibility in the cockpit and may be safer in an accident than the traditional "control yoke".

Electronic games

Ralph H. Baer
Ralph H. Baer
Ralph H. Baer is a German-born American video game pioneer, inventor, engineer, known as "The Father of Video Games", who is noted for his many contributions to games and the video game industry...

, inventor of television video games and the Magnavox Odyssey
Magnavox Odyssey
The Magnavox Odyssey is the world's first home video game console. It was first demonstrated on May 24, 1972 and released in August of that year, predating the Atari Pong home consoles by three years....

 console, released in 1972, created the first video game joysticks in 1967. They were able to control the horizontal and vertical position of a spot displayed on a screen. The earliest known electronic game
Electronic game
An electronic game is a game that employs electronics to create an interactive system with which a player can play. The most common form of electronic game today is the video game, and for this reason the terms are often mistakenly used synonymously. Other common forms of electronic game include...

 joystick with a fire button was released by Sega
Sega
, usually styled as SEGA, is a multinational video game software developer and an arcade software and hardware development company headquartered in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, with various offices around the world...

 as part of their 1969 arcade game
Arcade game
An arcade game is a coin-operated entertainment machine, usually installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars, and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are video games, pinball machines, electro-mechanical games, redemption games, and merchandisers...

 Missile, a shooter
Shooter game
Shooter games are a sub-genre of action game, which often test the player's speed and reaction time. It includes many subgenres that have the commonality of focusing "on the actions of the avatar using some sort of weapon. Usually this weapon is a gun, or some other long-range weapon". A common...

 simulation game that used it as part of an early dual-control scheme, where two directional buttons
D-pad
A D-pad is a flat, usually thumb-operated directional control with one button on each point, found on nearly all modern video game console gamepads, game controllers, on the remote control units of some television and DVD players, and smart phones...

 are used to move a motorized tank and a two-way joystick is used to shoot and steer the missile onto oncoming planes displayed on the screen; when a plane is hit, an explosion is animated on screen along with an explosion sound. In 1970, the game was released in North America as S.A.M.I. by Midway Games
Midway Games
Midway Games, Inc. is an American company that was formerly a major video game publisher. Following a bankruptcy filing in 2009, it is no longer active and is in the process of liquidating all of its assets. Midway's titles included Mortal Kombat, Ms.Pac-Man, Spy Hunter, Tron, Rampage, the...

.

Taito
Taito Corporation
The is a Japanese publisher of video game software and arcade hardware wholly owned by publisher Square Enix. Taito has their headquarters in the Shinjuku Bunka Quint Building in Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo, sharing the facility with its parent company....

 released a four-way joystick as part of their arcade racing video game Astro Race in 1973, while their 1975 run and gun multi-directional shooter game Western Gun
Gun Fight
Gun Fight, known as Western Gun in Japan and Europe, is a 1975 arcade shooter game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, and released by Taito in Japan and Europe and by Midway Games in the United States. It was a historically significant game, and a success in the arcades. It was later ported to the...

introduced dual-stick controls with one eight-way joystick for movement and the other for changing the shooting direction. In North America, it was released by Midway under the title Gun Fight
Gun Fight
Gun Fight, known as Western Gun in Japan and Europe, is a 1975 arcade shooter game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, and released by Taito in Japan and Europe and by Midway Games in the United States. It was a historically significant game, and a success in the arcades. It was later ported to the...

. In 1976, Taito released Interceptor, an early first-person
First-person shooter
First-person shooter is a video game genre that centers the gameplay on gun and projectile weapon-based combat through first-person perspective; i.e., the player experiences the action through the eyes of a protagonist. Generally speaking, the first-person shooter shares common traits with other...

 combat flight simulator
Combat flight simulator
Combat flight simulators are video games used to simulate military aircraft and their operations...

 that involved piloting a jet fighter
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

, using an eight-way joystick to aim with a crosshair and shoot at enemy aircraft.

The Atari standard joystick, developed for the Atari 2600
Atari 2600
The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in October 1977 by Atari, Inc. It is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in...

, released in 1977, was a digital joystick, with a single fire button, and connected via a DE-9 connector, the electrical specifications of which were for many years the de-facto standard digital joystick specification. Joysticks were commonly used as controllers in first
History of video game consoles (first generation)
The first generation of video game consoles lasted from 1972, with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey, until 1977, when "pong"-style console manufacturers left the market en masse due to the introduction and success of microprocessor-based consoles....

 and second generation
History of video game consoles (second generation)
In the history of computer and video games, the second generation began in 1976 with the release of the Fairchild Channel F and Radofin 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System....

 game consoles
Video game console
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device to display a video game...

, but they gave way to the familiar game pad with the Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America during 1985, in Europe during 1986 and Australia in 1987...

 and Sega Master System
Sega Master System
The is a third-generation video game console that was manufactured and released by Sega in 1985 in Japan , 1986 in North America and 1987 in Europe....

 during the mid-1980s, though joysticks — especially arcade-style ones — were and are popular after-market add-ons for any console.

In 1985, Sega's third-person
Third-person shooter
Third-person shooter is a genre of 3D action games in which the player character is visible on-screen, and the gameplay consists primarily of shooting.-Definition:...

 arcade rail shooter game Space Harrier
Space Harrier
is a third-person rail shooter game, released by Sega in 1985. It was produced by Yu Suzuki, responsible for many popular Sega games. It spawned several sequels: Space Harrier 3-D , Space Harrier II , and the spin-off Planet Harriers ....

introduced a true analog flight stick, used for movement. Its analog joystick could register movement in any direction as well as measure the degree of push, which could move the player character
Player character
A player character or playable character is a character in a video game or role playing game who is controlled or controllable by a player, and is typically a protagonist of the story told in the course of the game. A player character is a persona of the player who controls it. Player characters...

 at different speeds depending on how far the joystick is pushed in a certain direction.

Since the late 1990s, analog stick
Analog stick
An analog stick, sometimes called a control stick or thumbstick, is an input device for a controller that is used for two-dimensional input. An analog stick is a variation of a joystick, consisting of a protrusion from the controller; input is based on the position of this protrusion in relation...

s
(or thumbsticks, due to their being controlled by one's thumbs) have become standard on video game consoles and have the ability to indicate the stick's displacement from its neutral position. This means that the software does not have to keep track of the position or estimate the speed at which the controls are moved. These devices usually use a magnetic flux
Magnetic flux
Magnetic flux , is a measure of the amount of magnetic B field passing through a given surface . The SI unit of magnetic flux is the weber...

 detector to determine the position of the stick.

During the 1990s, joysticks such as the Gravis Phoenix
Advanced Gravis Computer Technology
Advanced Gravis Computer Technology, Ltd. was a manufacturer of computer peripherals and hardware. The company was founded in 1982 in British Columbia, Canada....

, Microsoft SideWinder, Logitech WingMan, and Thrustmaster FCS
Thrustmaster
Thrustmaster, is a designer and developer of joysticks, game controllers, and steering wheels for PCs and video gaming consoles alike. It has many licensing agreements with third party, prestigious brands such as Ferrari, TOP GUN, Beretta and Splinter Cell as well as licensing some products under...

 were in demand with PC gamers. They were considered a prerequisite for flight simulators such as F-16 Fighting Falcon and LHX Attack Chopper
LHX Attack Chopper
LHX Attack Chopper is a 1990 war helicopter simulation game for the PC by Electronic Arts. The game was developed by Electronic Arts, Design and Programming led by Brent Iverson, also known for the PC-DOS version of Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, and US Navy Fighters.The game was originally for PC-DOS,...

. Joysticks became especially popular with the mainstream success of Space flight simulator game
Space flight simulator game
A space flight simulator game is a genre of simulation video games that lets players experience space flight. Highly realistic examples lacking any sort of combat include Orbiter and Microsoft Space Simulator...

s like X-Wing
Star Wars: X-Wing (series)
Star Wars: X-Wing is a series of space combat simulation video games set in the Star Wars universe that attempts to simulate the fictional experience of starfighter combat, while remaining faithful to the movies. The player took the role of a pilot of the Rebel Alliance, and, in later games, the...

and Wing Commander
Wing Commander (franchise)
Wing Commander is a video game media franchise consisting of space combat simulation computer games from Origin Systems, Inc., an animated television series, a feature film, a collectible card game, a series of novels, and action figures...

, as well as the "Six degrees of freedom" 3D shooter Descent
Descent (video game)
Descent is a 3D first-person shooter video game developed by Parallax Software and released by Interplay Entertainment Corp. in 1995. The game features six degrees of freedom gameplay and garnered several expansion packs...

. However since the beginning of the 21st century, these types of games have waned in popularity and are now considered a "dead" genre, and with that gaming joysticks have been reduced to niche products.

A distinct variation of an analog joystick is a positional gun, which works differently to a light gun
Light gun
A light gun is a pointing device for computers and a control device for arcade and video games.Modern screen-based light guns work by building a sensor into the gun itself, and the on-screen target emit light rather than the gun...

. Instead of using light sensors, a positional gun is essentially an analog joystick mounted in a fixed location that records the position of the gun to determine where the player is aiming on the screen. It is often used for arcade
Arcade game
An arcade game is a coin-operated entertainment machine, usually installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars, and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are video games, pinball machines, electro-mechanical games, redemption games, and merchandisers...

 gun games
Light gun shooter
Light gun shooter, also called light gun game or simply gun game, is a shooter video game genre in which the primary design element is aiming and shooting with a gun-shaped controller. Light gun shooters revolve around the protagonist shooting targets, either antagonists or inanimate objects...

, with early examples including Sega
Sega
, usually styled as SEGA, is a multinational video game software developer and an arcade software and hardware development company headquartered in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, with various offices around the world...

's Sea Devil in 1972, Taito
Taito Corporation
The is a Japanese publisher of video game software and arcade hardware wholly owned by publisher Square Enix. Taito has their headquarters in the Shinjuku Bunka Quint Building in Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo, sharing the facility with its parent company....

's Attack in 1976 and Cross Fire in 1977, and Nintendo
Nintendo
is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....

's Battle Shark in 1978.

Arcade sticks

An arcade stick is a large-format controller for use with home consoles or computers. They use the stick-and-button configuration of some arcade cabinet
Arcade cabinet
A video game arcade cabinet, also known as a video arcade machine or video coin-op, is the housing within which a video arcade game's hardware resides. Most cabinets designed since the mid-1980s conform to the JAMMA wiring standard...

s, such as those with particular multi-button arrangements. For example, the six button layout of the arcade games Street Fighter II
Street Fighter II
is a competitive fighting game originally released for the arcades in . It is the arcade sequel to the original Street Fighter released in and was Capcom's fourteenth title that ran on the CP System arcade hardware...

or Mortal Kombat cannot be comfortably emulated on a console joypad, so licensed home arcade sticks for these games have been manufactured for home consoles and PCs.

Technical details

Most joysticks are two-dimensional, having two axes of movement (similar to a mouse), but one and three-dimensional joysticks do exist. A joystick is generally configured so that moving the stick left or right signals movement along the X axis, and moving it forward (up) or back (down) signals movement along the Y axis. In joysticks that are configured for three-dimensional movement, twisting the stick left (counter-clockwise) or right (clockwise) signals movement along the Z axis. These three axes - X Y and Z - are, in relation to an aircraft, roll, pitch, and yaw.

An analog joystick is a joystick which has continuous states, i.e. returns an angle measure of the movement in any direction in the plane or the space (usually using potentiometer
Potentiometer
A potentiometer , informally, a pot, is a three-terminal resistor with a sliding contact that forms an adjustable voltage divider. If only two terminals are used , it acts as a variable resistor or rheostat. Potentiometers are commonly used to control electrical devices such as volume controls on...

s) and a digital joystick gives only on/off signals for four different directions, and mechanically possible combinations (such as up-right, down-left, etc.). (Digital joysticks were very common as game controller
Game controller
A game controller is a device used with games or entertainment systems used to control a playable character or object, or otherwise provide input in a computer game. A controller is typically connected to a game console or computer by means of a wire, cord or nowadays, by means of wireless connection...

s for the video game console
Video game console
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device to display a video game...

s, arcade machines, and home computer
Home computer
Home computers were a class of microcomputers entering the market in 1977, and becoming increasingly common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user...

s of the 1980s.)

Additionally joysticks often have one or more fire buttons, used to trigger some kind of action. These are simple on/off switches.

Some joysticks have haptic feedback capability. These are thus active devices, not just input devices. The computer can return a signal to the joystick that causes it to resist the movement with a returning force or make the joystick vibrate.

Most I/O interface cards for PCs
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

 have a joystick (game control) port
Game port
The game port is a device port found on IBM PC compatible systems throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It was the traditional connector for joystick input devices until superseded by USB in the 21st century....

. Modern joysticks mostly use a USB
Universal Serial Bus
USB is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and protocols used in a bus for connection, communication and power supply between computers and electronic devices....

 interface for connection to the PC.

Hat switch

A hat switch is a control on some joysticks. It is also known as a POV (point of view) switch. It allows one to look around in their virtual world, browse menus etc. For example, many flight simulators use it to switch the player's views, while other games sometimes use it as a substitute for the D-pad
D-pad
A D-pad is a flat, usually thumb-operated directional control with one button on each point, found on nearly all modern video game console gamepads, game controllers, on the remote control units of some television and DVD players, and smart phones...

; while computer gamepads modelled after PlayStation DualShock controllers assign POV switch scancodes to the D-pad of it.

The term hat switch is a sanitization of the term "Coolie
Coolie
Historically, a coolie was a manual labourer or slave from Asia, particularly China, India, and the Phillipines during the 19th century and early 20th century...

 Hat", named for the similar-looking headgear
Conical straw hat
The conical Asian hat, sedge hat, rice hat, paddy hat or coolie hat is a simple style of conical hat originating in East and Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea. It is kept on the head by a cloth chin strap; an internal band of the same material keeps the hat...

, which may be considered offensive.

In a real aircraft, the hat switch may control things like aileron
Aileron
Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll, which results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector...

 or rudder
Rudder
A rudder is a device used to steer a ship, boat, submarine, hovercraft, aircraft or other conveyance that moves through a medium . On an aircraft the rudder is used primarily to counter adverse yaw and p-factor and is not the primary control used to turn the airplane...

 trim.

Industrial applications

In recent times, the employment of joysticks has become commonplace in many industrial and manufacturing applications, such as; cranes, assembly lines, forestry equipment, mining trucks, and excavators. In fact, the use of such joysticks is in such high demand, that it has virtually replaced the traditional mechanical control lever in nearly all modern hydraulic control systems. Additionally, most Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

s (UAVs) and submersible Remotely Operated Vehicle
Remotely operated vehicle
A remotely operated vehicle is a tethered underwater vehicle. They are common in deepwater industries such as offshore hydrocarbon extraction. An ROV may sometimes be called a remotely operated underwater vehicle to distinguish it from remote control vehicles operating on land or in the air. ROVs...

s (ROVs) require at least one joystick to control either the vehicle, the on-board cameras, sensors and manipulators.

Due to the highly hands-on, rough nature of such applications, the industrial joystick tends to be more robust than the typical video-game controller, and able to function over a high cycle life. This led to the development and employment of Hall Effect
Hall effect
The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current...

 sensing to such applications in the 1980s as a means of contactless sensing. Several companies produce joysticks for industrial applications using hall effect technology. Another technology used in joystick design is the use of strain gauges to build force transducers from which the output is proportional to the force applied rather than physical deflection. Miniature force transducers are used as additional controls on joysticks for menu selection functions.

Global manufacturers that serve the largest OEM's, like Caterpillar, John Deere, AGCO, CNH, JLG, GENIE and others, are DeltaTech Controls and Penny and Giles Controls. Penny and Giles Controls also designs and manufactures joysticks for Sauer Danfoss. Apem Apem is another such manufacturer for the global market incorporating such brands are CH Products http://chproducts.com, Oliver Control Systems http://oliver-control.com and Apem own http://www.apem.com/.

In North America, there are several small regional manufactures that also service the industry; CTI Electronics, OEM Controls, Otto Engineering, PQ Controls, CH Products, BG Systems, and Elobau Sensor Technologies http://www.elobau-st.com.

In Europe, there are several manufacturers that supply specialized market sectors, such as crane controls, aviation, etc.. One of the European global joystick suppliers is the Swiss company Genge & Thoma AG, supplying standard and tailor made industrial grade joysticks. In the UK Printed Motor Works have recently taken over the production of the Flightlink Controls/PML Flightlink ranges of industrial

Some larger manufactures of joysticks are able to customize joystick handles and grips specific to the OEM needs while small regional manufacture often concentrate on selling standard products at higher prices to smaller OEM's.

Assistive technology

Specialist joysticks, classed as an assistive technology
Assistive technology
Assistive technology or adaptive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them...

 pointing device
Pointing device
A pointing device is an input interface that allows a user to input spatial data to a computer...

, are used to replace the computer mouse for people with fairly severe physical disabilities. Rather than controlling games these joysticks plug into the USB port and control the mouse pointer
Cursor (computers)
In computing, a cursor is an indicator used to show the position on a computer monitor or other display device that will respond to input from a text input or pointing device. The flashing text cursor may be referred to as a caret in some cases...

. They are often useful to people with athetoid conditions, such as cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement....

, who find them easier to grasp than a standard mouse. Miniature joysticks are also available for people with conditions involving muscular weakness such as muscular dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy is a group of muscle diseases that weaken the musculoskeletal system and hamper locomotion. Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue.In the 1860s, descriptions of boys who...

 or motor neuron disease. They are also used on electric powered wheelchairs for control since they are simple and effective to use as a control method.

See also

  • Aircraft flight control system
  • Flight simulator
    Flight simulator
    A flight simulator is a device that artificially re-creates aircraft flight and various aspects of the flight environment. This includes the equations that govern how aircraft fly, how they react to applications of their controls and other aircraft systems, and how they react to the external...

  • Game controller
    Game controller
    A game controller is a device used with games or entertainment systems used to control a playable character or object, or otherwise provide input in a computer game. A controller is typically connected to a game console or computer by means of a wire, cord or nowadays, by means of wireless connection...

  • Gamepad
    Gamepad
    A gamepad , is a type of game controller held in two hands, where the digits are used to provide input. Gamepads generally feature a set of action buttons handled with the right thumb and a direction controller handled with the left...

  • Gravis PC GamePad
    Gravis PC GamePad
    The Gravis PC GamePad is a game port game controller produced by Advanced Gravis Computer Technology. It was the first gamepad for the IBM PC compatible in a market then dominated by joysticks...

  • Kempston joystick
  • TAC-2
    TAC-2
    The Totally Accurate Controller MK2 , manufactured by Suncom Technologies, is an Atari 2600 compatible game controller, commonly used with the Commodore C64 and Amiga computers in the mid to late 1980s....

  • The Arcade (joystick)
    The Arcade (joystick)
    The Arcade was a very popular and appreciated joystick produced by Suzo International on the European market. It distinguished itself from the competition because of its robust construction as the stick had a reinforced inside made of steel and used microswitches for the controls and fire...


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