Joystick

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A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Joysticks are often used to control video games, and usually have one or more push-buttons whose state can also be read by the computer. A popular variation of the joystick used on modern video game consoles is the analog stick.

The joystick has been the principal flight control in the cockpit of many aircraft, particularly military fast jets, either as a center stick or side-stick.

Joysticks are also used for controlling machines such as cranes, trucks, underwater unmanned vehicles, wheelchairs, surveillance cameras and zero turning radius lawn mowers. Miniature finger-operated joysticks have been adopted as input devices for smaller electronic equipment such as mobile phones.

Contents

History

Joysticks originated as controls for aircraft ailerons and elevators.

The name "joystick" is thought to originate with early 20th century French pilot Robert Esnault-Pelterie.[1] There are also competing claims on behalf of fellow pilots Robert Loraine, James Henry Joyce and A. E. George. Loraine is credited with entering the term "joystick" in his diary in 1909 when he went to Pau to learn to fly at Bleriot's school. George was a pioneer aviator who with his colleague Jobling built and flew a biplane at Newcastle in England in 1910. He is alleged to have invented the "George Stick" which became more popularly known as the joystick. The George and Jobling aircraft control column is in the collection of the Discovery Museum in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. Joysticks were present in early planes, though their mechanical origins are uncertain.[2] The coining of the term "joystick" may actually be credited to Loraine, as his is the earliest known usage of the term, although he most certainly did not invent the device.

The first electrical 2-axis joystick was probably invented around 1944 in Germany. The device was developed for targeting the glide bomb Henschel Hs 293 against ship targets. Here, the joystick was used by an operator to steer the missile towards its target. This joystick had on-off switches rather than analogue sensors. The signal was transmitted from the joystick to the missile via radio.

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