The Boring Company has found a new way to control its tunneling devices: an Xbox One controller. According to Engadget, Elon Musk’s tunnel construction company recently shared a video on its Twitter account depicting a worker controlling a tunneling device with the Xbox One controller.
Captioned with “Best video game ever,” The Boring Company’s tweet shows a tunneling device respond to input via an Xbox One controller. As the worker presses the right thumb stick, the tunneling device moves in that direction. The 45-second video was published to The Boring Company’s Twitter account on Sept. 8 but has already attracted more than 1.2 million views.
Why is The Boring Company interested in using an Xbox One controller for its tunneling devices instead of traditional peripherals like a keyboard and mouse or a touchscreen interface? Developing new control peripherals isn’t just difficult; it’s also time consuming and expensive. It took Microsoft several years and more than $100 million to develop the Xbox One controller. By using the Xbox One controller, The Boring Company can avoid the headache of developing its own control system.
If you own an Xbox One or have ever played one, you’re probably well aware of the controller’s ergonomic design. It rests comfortably in your hands without causing stress or tension, which is another reason that The Boring Company is using them.
The U.S. Navy is also experimenting with Xbox controllers. Last year, the Navy announced plans to replace the joystick-style imaging control system on its Virginia-class submarines with Xbox 360 controllers. After conducting tests in conjunction with Lockheed Martin, the Navy found that sailors were able to learn to use the Xbox 360 controller in just minutes whereas it took them several hours to learn to use the joystick.
Most importantly, the Navy says that the joystick controllers on its Virginia-class submarines currently cost around $38,000 per unit. In comparison, Xbox 360 controllers are available for about $25.
From the Navy to The Boring Company, Xbox controllers are now being used for more than just playing video games. As more organizations acknowledge their versatility, we’ll likely see Xbox controllers used in other applications in the future.