Sony announces PS5 Project Leonardo controller; aims to help users with disabilities play comfortably

The controller does not need to be handheld and can be laid flat on wheelchair trays.

Benjamin Chew

Only drinks bubble tea with 100% sugar.

Published: 5 January 2023, 3:17 PM

A highly customisable accessibility controller kit is under development to help PlayStation 5 users with disabilities play more comfortably.

Named Project Leonardo, the controller kit was announced at 9am SGT on Thursday (Jan 5) at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023 by Sony CEO Jim Ryan. He shared that the project seeks to address common challenges faced by players with limited motor control.

Players with these difficulties may be unable to hold a controller for long periods of time, accurately press small clusters of buttons and triggers or position their thumbs and fingers optimally on a standard controller, said Sony.

The company intends to address such issues through Project Leonardo’s split symmetrical design, which allows players to reposition the analog sticks as close together as they like. The controller is also designed to lie flat and does not need to be handheld, allowing players to lay it on a tabletop or wheelchair tray during their gaming sessions.


The controller can also be mounted on tripods and oriented 360 degrees. PHOTO CREDIT: SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT


Additionally, the controller kit is said to come with swappable components which include a variety of analog stick caps and buttons of different shapes and sizes.

Such components are intended for users to craft a wide array of control layouts, and the player can also adjust the distance of the analog stick from the gamepad to their preference. 

Once they have finished programming their button settings, they can then save these choices as control profiles up to three times and switch between them through the profile button.


Players can choose to map multiple functions to a button, or map multiple buttons to the same function for more convenience. PHOTO CREDIT: SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT


Players who enjoy more collaborative games like Among Us can pair up to two Project Leonardo controllers and one DualSense wireless controller as a single virtual controller, which allows them to mix and match their devices for such gameplay.


For instance, a friend or family member can control the player’s character in game through the second Project Leonardo controller. PHOTO CREDIT: SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT


Those who are more comfortable using other types of switches, buttons and analog sticks instead can connect such external accessories to the Project Leonardo controller through four 3.5mm auxiliary ports. When connected, these external accessories can be configured to act like any other button.

Project Leonardo is still under development and Sony will continue to gather feedback from the community.

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