The Arduino Gaming Controller, with built in sensors, buttons and a joystick.
In this Review
- What is the Esplora?
- The Technical Specifications
- What it can be used for
What is the Esplora?
The Arduino Esplora is an interesting product that I couldn’t help buying and trying it out for myself. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw it – a fully functional Arduino board in the shape of a controller. It has a vast array of sensors and other items on board making it amazing for beginners to have a go on without the need for complicated wiring or anything like that. It sells for about £35 at the moment, making it great value for money if you take into consideration all the stuff you get with it.
It has a library built for it, so the programming is very simple. It comes with an example piece of code on it, so you can start using it the moment you buy it.
The Esplora is based on the Leonardo, and therefore shares many specifications with it. The table below highlights the main specs of it:
It’s larger than I thought it would be – 16.4 x 6 cm. It feels great to hold, and is very usable as a basic gaming controller. Following a typical gamepad layout, it has a large joystick on the left, and a four button directional pad on the right. Along the bottom is a linear potentiometer, something of which I have barely ever seen before. In the centre of the controller is a place to slot in an Arduino TFT screen, so you could take this on the go if you wanted to, if you bought a screen for it.
As well as the things mentioned above, it has a variety of sensors including a light sensor, temperature sensor, accelerometer and microphone. It also has a buzzer, LEDs and Tinkerkit Outputs and Inputs.
Because of all the stuff included with this, it’s very good value for money. If you bought all the parts indiviually, with the Leonardo and all the sensors etc, it would cost more than the Esplora.
What it can be used for
For any Arduino gaming project, for example, making a game for Arduino in C++ using real sensors etc, it’s perfect. It’s the only decent controller for Arduino, so it’s pretty much the only option anyway if you’re coding video games on an Arduino.
Because of the large amount of sensors and components on the board, it is good for beginners, because no wiring is required to get straight into the programming of the components.
+ Good Value for Money
+ Great for Beginners and Gamers
+ Loads of on-board components
+ Fantastic, easy-to-use library to make programming it very simple.
– The Joystick thumb did not fit on my particular model, don’t know why!