Combination of new tech, and good ol' fashioned wood
CrankTank was born as the final project to a class centered around alternative arcade controllers. Our goal was to create a full-body, physically involved controller and pair it with a relatively simple on-screen interface. The controllers themselves are made out of 3/4'' thick Baltic Birch Wood which has been CNC cut to be completely modular for ease of transportation. Unity 5.1 was used to create the game which the controllers interacted with, and received input from a single Arduino Leonardo connected to both controllers.
The controllers are almost entirely made of 3/4'' CNC cut Baltic Birch Wood. For the handles we used standard 1 in. x 48 in. wood round dowel's cut to size. In order to reduce the friction created by having the wood-wood contact between the wheel and the body, we placed plastic turntable lazy-Susan spacers with metal ball bearings in the gap between the pieces. Internally, each controller sported 2 custom rotary encoders made up of 2 red LEDs and 2 photo-resistors. A custom laser cut encoder wheel gives the game a 1/4 turn resolution to detect forward or backward movement. Each side of the controller controls one side of the on-screen tank's treads.