• Thu. May 19th, 2022

How a company could kill Joy-Con controller and joystick drift forever

ByLinda W. Smith

May 9, 2022

Last update:

Stick drift is something gamers have struggled with for years, no matter how clumsy your controller may be, it can still suffer from stick drift issues. Over the past five years, we’ve seen Nintendo come under fire for their Joycon design, which regularly fails and has stick drift issues. The new consoles on the market are no strangers to this either. Dualsense and Xbox Series controllers both have pretty significant drift issues, but one company is looking to change all that using revolutionary new technology.

We caught up with Jack He, Commercial Director of Shenzhen-based Gulikit, to talk about how they will potentially revolutionize joysticks forever, and also eliminate the Stick Drift problem altogether. “When I was still a student, I encountered the stick drift problem when using the PS1 controller with [the] controller. So far I have also encountered this issue on the latest PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series controllers. “

“You know, I’m very bored [by] this when i play games, and i have to spend more money to buy [them] again and they’re not cheap,” he continues, noting his frustrations with the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con, which ultimately led Gulikit to create groundbreaking technology, Hall-sensing electromagnetic joysticks.

Hall effect controllers explained

“Each Hall sensing joystick has two Hall sensors and two magnets. The “Hall effect” is essentially the principle of the difference in electricity generated when current flows through a conductor in the magnetic field. When the sensor detects that the magnetic field works, the sensor itself has no physical contact with the magnet, therefore neither the sensor nor the magnet physically wears against each other and there is almost no loss [or friction] long on themselves. This underlying technology is scientifically designed to look like another joystick, but in fact, it’s something completely different.

“Normal sticks use a carbon film type potentiometer, in which there is always friction between the metal contact part and the carbon film material. Over time, these parts can wear out badly and cause liquids, dust or unknown residue inside, resulting in connection failure, performance degradation, and drifting is the common phenomenon. Given the prevalence of drift issues on many commercial controllers, this phenomenon is something that has infuriated gamers around the world for a long time, but it’s been a concern of Gulikit for years. But, he notes that Gulikit was first looking to release a version of the joysticks that were to be used in Nintendo’s flagship device.

Gulikit Interview3m

“In fact, early in our design work, we started designing a smaller hall-sensing electromagnetic joystick for [a] Joy-con, and we are still working on it and we will finish it soon in the near future so that it can be put into smaller devices. The current largest hall sensing joystick was completed first in the middle of design work for use on our controller. »

If Gulikit manages to create a mintuarized version of hall-sensing sticks for Nintendo’s joy-con, it could be game-changing for DIY modders everywhere, and for the average person looking to replace their sticks with something new. a little more robust, and a much more precise set. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for more.

Gulikit’s joysticks beat everything else on the market right now

The current hall detection stick can even be found on a few commercial devices right now, the AYANEO Next, in addition to Gulikit’s King Kong 2 Pro controller, both of which report incredibly impressive accuracy results compared to a controller normal. Gulikit’s Hall-sensing King Kong Pro 2 joystick reported an average error of just 0.6%, compared to a similar Xbox Series controller that saw a few months of use, which only managed to eliminate a 19.6% average error rate in stick test. circularity.

Interview

That’s a dramatic difference in quality. Even in the new controllers, a 0.6% error rate means the controller is incredibly precise and unlike anything else we’ve seen, especially when it comes to joystick technology. But, does Gulikit risk their hall detection design being trampled on and copied by bigger players in the industry?

“Developing this new Hall-sensing joystick requires a variety of theories from materials science, electromagnetics, hardware engineering, and software algorithms. It is not so easy to do innovation and design such a new joystick for these traditional joystick manufacturers if they only try to develop a new joystick physical structure alone, which is difficult to achieve in terms of feasibility and good manufacturability. This is proven by attempts to get a hall sensing stick inside a Steam Deck, while hall sensing sticks are fine, they also require their own daughterboard to process input coming out of the stick , so for those looking for a quick swap, it might be viable, but the complex design means it’s hard to copy.

Jack He notes that during development, Gulikit himself struggled to get it through and make a deliverable.

At the beginning of research and development, we were not completely convinced that we could do this.

Jack He, Commercial Director at Gulikit

He continues, “We have continued to try and increase our investment in in-depth research. The 2 years of design work was a repeated “design-test-fail-redesign-retest” R&D process. But it’s exciting that we finally made it.

Hall-sensing sticks may be coming to more controllers soon

When you look at the sheer innovation brought by Hall-sensing sticks, it’s no wonder that Gulikit is looking to sell them to other manufacturers, like they did with AYANEO, Jack He told us which follows:

“Many companies are already talking to us for this and [have had] samples offered to them for evaluation and testing. Some companies have already used it on their products, such as AYANEO’s NEXT PRO handheld. But we can’t say all the names at this time for privacy reasons.

When we inquired about their competitors, like Razer and Scuf, Gulikit’s response was not fervent competition, but rather cooperation. “We are open and happy to cooperate with them and with others as well. We can provide different business proposals such as overall joystick design solution, spare parts supply and also patent license authorization.

Gulikit is sitting on patented and disruptive technology, and seeing something like this breakthrough in the mainstream would not only be a success for Gulikit itself, but also for the industry as a whole, and the company also wants to continue to grow. ‘improve. “We are always progressing and constantly continuing to optimize and improve this technology.”

One thing we were concerned about was the hardware cost of the controller, which might deter one of the biggest customers from biting into this incredibly unique stick, but Jack He tempered those concerns by stating that “Of course it’s higher , but still within good and acceptable levels”

However, for now, you can still get a hall-sensing controller in the form of Gulikit’s King Kong Pro 2 controller, a sturdy and well-built controller for Nintendo Switch, PC, and mobile devices. However, you might struggle to get them to work on your home consoles, so we asked whether or not we might see hall sensor modifications for the Dualsense and Xbox series controllers, which are reportedly already operational on Gulikit’s R&D side.

“Internally, we changed PS5 DualSense controllers and Xbox Series controllers with the hall-sensing electromagnetic joystick for demonstration and testing. Besides, we have the design patent for separate joystick spare part. However, there are many challenges to overcome. The joystick working voltages on these controllers are different. And as each PS4 DualShock controller is calibrated differently depending on the joystick at the factory. This means that if you replace the stick, you may have to go through a difficult calibration process.

Jack He further states, “In addition to that, hall sticks require single chip to work together, while chip sourcing does not have a good delivery plan due to peak production in all factories. of chip boards. We need to postpone the hall stick replacement plan for these controllers. But we will work very hard and hope to share more information about it in the future. The chip shortage is likely to last for quite some time yet, so don’t hold your breath if you’re looking to replace your controllers with hall-sensing sticks anytime soon.

Gulikit also wants to innovate with new joystick buttons

Gulikit min button

If you look at just about any controller, you’ll see something fairly standard between all of them; pasty buttons and membranes. Some of them may have been stuck in the past, but the principle is exactly the same as a membrane keyboard, the push receives a slight tactile response. Gulikit’s button on the King Kong Pro 2 device houses a new type of linear housing, similar to an MX-style keyboard switch that pushes down the membrane pad at the bottom, making it more of a mechanical switch than anything else.

“We developed a new button that has a similar mechanical key shaft structure for up to 50 million times longer life, while maintaining a good rubber membrane click feeling. It’s a new innovation for our controllers.

He also notes that the company wanted to retain that membrane-like feel while housing it in a mechanical-style structure. To us, that doesn’t seem quite right, and we wish they’d gone ahead and tried using that shaft-style button with a mechanical switch, instead of sticking with the membrane. Other companies like Hori have also been testing tactile buttons on their controllers, and they feel very good by comparison, so Gulikit might have a ways to go with the development of this particular innovation, which they also intend to market alongside their industry leader. hall detection sticks.

In the meantime, Gulikit continues to release new products, which they hope will bring further innovation in the field of gaming peripherals, but in our mind, if they manage to integrate these hall detection sticks into so many controllers as possible, they could be onto a winner. For now, you can grab their KingKong Pro 2 controller to experience these frankly stunning and smooth controller sticks.


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