Valve Experimenting With Tongue, Bottom Controllers

As you’re by this point well aware, Valve is less a singular, unified company and more a series of creative cliques – with all the disjointedness and occasional infighting that entails. On the upside, that allows for all sorts of zany, deity-defying experiments, up to and including controllers tailor-made for that lumpy thing protruding from the bottom of your back. Also, your tongue. Thankfully, the two are not being used in conjunction. Go below for videos of Valve engineer Ben Krasnow’s two extremely, er, unique controllers.

Obviously, the controllers are very, very early prototypes that may never amount to anything substantial. The implications, however, are actually quite fascinating. Neither control method is ideal, but the sky’s the limit for people with disabilities or when other control options are physically unfeasible.

It’s admirable work, not to mention technically impressive to this writer’s flabby, mechanically hopeless mind. Also, come on: who hasn’t wanted to have perfect 1:1 control over a Left 4 Dead smoker zombie’s tongue? And if Half-Life 3 doesn’t include a tense sit-down dinner negotiation scene between Gordon Freeman and the G-Man controlled only via tongue and backside, then that’s it. I’m out.

Thanks, Eurogamer.


  1. Kubrick Stare Nun says:

    It’s going to be all the rage when the Oculus Rift porn games start to come out.

    • frightlever says:

      Sure, if you’re into ass to mouth porn.

      Anyhoo, isn’t the balance controller a bit redundant when you have Kinect style devices?

      • Meat Circus says:

        We don’t go ass to mouth.

        Not without a firmware upgrade.

      • Reapy says:

        Would think that you’d want to try modding a WII fit device, doesn’t that have an in built balance sensor already?

        • Greggh says:

          Not as cheap to disassemble/experiment as a digital scale is.

          Perhaps even too expensive for certain less extensive uses – like playing Wii Sports (OOOOHH)

    • 00000 says:

      Hey, with that tongue controller your noscope 420 skills will finally appeal to the ladies.

  2. c-Row says:

    Let’s hope AssCreed adds support for these.

  3. TaylanK says:

    This tongue in cheek article was an interesting read. I’ll be bummed out if at least one of them doesn’t come to fruition.

    • Groove says:

      I’m sick of this, Valve can stick their motion controls up their ass.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Indeed. It’d be a shame to see this project go bottoms up.

      If it doesn’t work out, hopefully Gabe doesn’t give this guy too strong of a tongue lashing.

    • Psymon says:

      Technology these days is ass-tongue-ishing.

  4. Groove says:

    It’ll be like the South Park episode with ‘The IT’.

    People react to Steam only being controllable via the the mouth and anus ‘It’s still less hassle than dealing with Origin’

    • c-Row says:

      Origin comes with a special bottom controller that features an additional analog stick.

  5. rustybroomhandle says:

    If the butt-controller doesn’t come with Guru Meditation I’ll be disappoint.

  6. maxi0 says:

    Does this mean Twerking will become a requirement for aspiring competitive gamers who are looking for an edge?

  7. Moraven says:

    There are players such as this guy
    link to

    who are already playing games like SC2, LoL with no hands.

    I am sure they would appreciate more controller support.

  8. Ross Angus says:

    Either controller might be useful for accessibility. People with motor problems currently have a selection of hardware to use, none of which is as precise as a mouse. But they struggle on with it anyway.

  9. xfstef says:

    If you look close enough you’ll notice that he really doesn’t have a soul.

  10. ucfalumknight says:

    All joking aside, this looks like ideal devices for gamers with motor impairment. Individuals with Traumatic Spinal and Brain injuries can continue to game with these devices. People with CNS diseases like MS, ALS, and others, can continue to sustain their quality of life (albeit with video games)with peripherals such as these. I hope something comes of these. Kudos!

    • Radiant says:

      ok maybe not so much of a waste of time then.

    • Greggh says:

      Yes my thoughts immediately turned to the work of a few individuals and organizations (namely Special Effects UK)

  11. Gap Gen says:

    Poot to shoot.

  12. Psymon says:


  13. Radiant says:

    What a waste of time.

    • Psymon says:

      Yes. Shame on them for experimenting!!
      What have experiments ever done for us?!

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      Yeah, fuck quadriplegic gamers.

      Might I suggest empathy classes?

    • orochi_kyo says:

      For people like you we only need a joystick with a only one button that says “BLOCK”

    • mplia says:

      Actually this has nothing to do with Valve. This video came from Ben’s personal youtube channel where he experiments with lots of stuff

  14. pilouuuu says:


    I hope these devices have unique achievements on Steam.

  15. Dozer says:

    I’m jealous of that guy’s wiry desk. I need to make a back-panel for my desk which has a wire caddy.

  16. Megakoresh says:

    Dat pro feeling when you understand all the electrical wiring theory he explains.
    Yeah, studying physics was the right idea. Never mind that almost failed most others…

  17. BarneyL says:

    In other news Valve deny rumours of developing a co-op play mode human centipede the game.

  18. The Random One says:

    You can control your computer by just sitting! We’ll all be turning into the people from Wall-E a decade from now!

  19. trjp says:

    The tongue thing is interesting because there are already people who ‘see’ through their tongues…

    Clever people discovered that deprived of visual information, your brain can parse information from other senses in exactly the same way – so they designed a device (they’re called it a Brainport I think) which connects a camera to a tongue sensor which creates physical 3d ‘patterns’ based on black-and-white images of the world.

    It sounds crude – but it enables this man to climb a fucking MOUNTAIN

    link to

    Something we need to make clear here is that he’s not “feeling” a picture on his tongue – his brain “sees” that picture in the same you you’d ‘see’ the world – abeit at a much-reduced resolution and without colour.

    I cannot understate how amazing I find that…

    I have no idea how you’ve reverse the idea tho – or why you’d want to :)

  20. metadolor says:

    oh come on.
    this is not “valve experimenting” on anything. this is ben krasnow’s private channel. he shows a lot of awesome stuff there, like an automated cookie ingredient dispenser, a DIY electron microscope and a contact lens with an led in it.
    is valve experimenting with x-rays because ben once x-rayed a chicken in his workshop?

  21. Yaksha says:

    Skynet will be replaced by Valve assimilating Google. The new threat has been called Voolve and is slowly building a matrix unified by all devices hooked up to the old Google. Also, Gabe has a floating chair.

  22. midhras says:

    This guy’s youtube channel is a blast.

    • benjaminlobato says:

      He built a scanning electron microscope in his garage! He is pretty amazing