Play PC games the iPad style – Using a PIC with USB, accelerometer and optional Gyroscope

The iPad is finally out – one feature that might caught your attention is the built-in accelerometer and the ability to control a game by tilting the device. For more than a year I was working on a similar idea for the PC Notebook market based on my original  motion gamepad project that would  allow playing a game by tilting the laptop/netbook. Now that iPad is out I hope that the notebook/netbook manufactures will catch up by incorporating MEMS sensor into their devices. Here is the result of my prototype , it is a USB attached device, but ideally I think this should be embedded into the laptop.


About the project:

For the hardware I used the Acc_Gyro sensor and a thumb-size PIC platform UsbThumb built around the inexpensive PIC18F14K50 chip that provides all the necessary USB connectivity and ADC inputs.

This setup is actually hardware compatible with my original Motion Gamepad design so all the software utilities and firmware will work on the Acc_Gyro + UsbThumb combination that is available as a kit under the name of UsbThumbImu . The Acc_Gyro fits on top of UsbThumb and this is not a coincidence since UsbThumb was designed as microcontroller helper for the Acc_Gyro with the idea of being able to provide the USB/Serial/SPI/I2C interface, as well as making use of the built-in 10bit ADC module of the PIC18F14K50.



In the pictures above headers are used to connect the device, so the end result is a little taller  than you could get if you'd simply solder the two boards together. Both devices have been designed for people that would like to extend  or experiment with the existing solution so there is a second row of connectors on the UsbThumb that can be used to connect buttons or other devices to the project. 


All that's it for now – hope you liked the project. It was really easy to built having the two important components UsbThumb and Acc_Gyro. You'll find more info on individual components on my website as well as  on the GadgetGangster site with whom I partnered to provide kits for anyone interested. If you don't find the necessary information, or you have any any suggestions, ideas or questions – as always feel free to drop me a line with in the comment area below.





6 thoughts on “Play PC games the iPad style – Using a PIC with USB, accelerometer and optional Gyroscope

  1. sanjeev kumar Reply

    bro i am having ez430 watch which has in build accelrometer.i controled simple custor od note pad or other software which come with windows with accelrometer but when i try to play game with accelrometer it wont work why/??can you hepl me in this..?

    • starlino Post authorReply

      The ez430 emulates a mouse, while the device on this page emulates a gamepad device (similar to a joystick device) which makes playing games easier

  2. clemy60 Reply


    I'm very interested in your product. It's exactly what I'm looking for. It was a prototype in 2010 but now in 2015 do you sell it? 

    Thank you


  3. george Reply


    It is very interesting!

    If I connect it with my tablet, will the applications which require gyroscope run?


    Best regards


  4. jwatan Reply

    where to buy this usb thunmb imu..

    it’s support in android emulator.?

    please send buy link

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