The U.S. Navy is using Xbox 360 controllers to operate submarine periscopes

xbox 360 controller
The question of the ultimate video game controller is always a source of spirited debate — does Sony’s Dual Shock 4 have the edge over the competition? Are a keyboard and mouse the way to go? Now, the U.S. Navy has made its stance clear, as it’s set to implement Microsoft’s Xbox 360 pad across its fleet of Virginia-class submarines.

The Xbox 360 controller will be used to operate periscopes, which were previously manipulated with a joystick, according to Pilot Online. If you are wondering why these periscopes need such a nuanced method of control, it’s because they’re not the simple versions you might recognize from movies and television shows.

The periscopes used on Virginia-class submarines are comprised of two photonics masts, each of which is able to rotate 360 degrees. They are outfitted with high-resolution cameras that output their images to large displays so that everyone in the room can see what’s being observed — but the method of controlling where they are looking using a joystick wasn’t particularly popular among operators.

The joystick that was previously in use was described by junior officers and sailors as “clunky” and “real heavy.” As a result, officials began to test out whether the Xbox 360 controller could sub in for the equipment.

The biggest advantage that the gamepad holds over its predecessor is the fact that many operators are already familiar with how to use it from their prior experience playing video games. It would take novices hours of practice before they were considered to be adept at using the joystick.

There are also benefits in terms of cost and accessibility. If a replacement pad needs to be procured, it’s available at retail outlets worldwide and it costs around $30, rather than the $38,000 price tag that was attached to the joystick and its control panel.

The Navy has already been testing the Xbox 360 controller in this context for two years, to make sure that it is up to the job. It’s expected to be officially implemented for the first time on the USS Colorado, which should be commissioned by November, before being rolled out across other Virginia-class submarines as part of the service’s ongoing modernization effort.


Play ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ the best way with a Switch GameCube controller

If you're a longtime Super Smash Bros. player, then you know there's only one true way to play. Alongside the recent launch of the new 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,' Nintendo has brought back the iconic GameCube controller.
Digital Trends Live

Marshawn Lynch joins Digital Trends Live to talk charity, football

On a special episode of Digital Trends Live, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch joined host Greg Nibler to talk about his charitable foundation, Phones for the Homeless, and the Fan Controlled Football League.

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.

19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.

Nintendo pulls the plug on making more SNES Classic, NES Classic systems

Nintendo extended production of the NES Classic and SNES Classic into 2018, but once the current supply of consoles is gone, the company won't be making more. Instead, you'll have to use Nintendo Switch Online.

Fancy ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ PlayStation 4 Pro launches alongside game in January

A limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III will launch alongside the game in January. The system included has a special design on the side, as does the controller.

Want to share your Xbox One games? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.