British Army uses Xbox 360 controllers for UAVs

I come from a country which has no army—as a matter of fact, yesterday we celebrated 59 army-less years—and although I’m against the violence that having an army usually implies, I have to admit that I admire military institutions. After all, many modern advances are unfortunately the result of research which at first was intended for war and I won’t deny that a couple of months of martial discipline wouldn’t be so bad for many of today’s youths. But well, my point of view of war and military is not the subject of this post.

I was reading through my feeds when I stumbled upon this video of the British Army. They are explaining what the job of a UAV pilot is like, which is basically midway between playing video games and flying remote-controlled model planes. The funny part, though, is around second 0:14, when they show the controller that the pilot is using to fly his UAV: a Xbox 360 controller!

I haven’t had the chance to play with Xbox 360 controller connected to my computer. I will start fiddling with XNA shortly, so I might just invest in the necessary hardware. In the meanwhile, I have started playing with gaming hardware I already have: the Wii Remote, or Wiimote.

I wrote a small application that basically just sends keystrokes to PowerPoint so that I can use the Wiimote as a remote controller while I’m presenting. I’m actually trying to get my hands on a Microsoft Presenter mouse, but in the meanwhile, this is much more fun. I’ll start a series of short posts on how to do this tomorrow, after I test my app for real.