Introduction: Physical Controller for IPad or IPhone

I really enjoy playing games on my iPad but sometimes I leave wanting more because they lack a physical controller. I set out to create a simple, cheap, and customizable solution. It can work with almost any app, and with almost any smart phone or tablet! Just attach it to the screen and have fun.

Step 1: Get the Materials

- Thin wire
- Play-Doh
- A few coins
- Alligator clips
- A smart phone or tablet

You also need something to strip the wire with.

Step 2: Prepare the Wire

Start by cutting the wire. I chose to make my wire about 7 inches long, but you can use any length for your project. Strip the plastic coating off the wire if there is one. Only strip about a quarter of an inch off both ends.

Step 3: Attach the Clips

Take the alligator clips and attach them to both ends of the wire. When wrapping the ends of the wire to the clips make sure the metal wire is touching the metal clip.

Step 4: Add the Play-Doh

Now take out a small piece of Play-Doh and wrap it around one of the clips. Try and completely surround the alligator clip. Leave a small ball of Play-Doh at the base. This is what will attach to the screen so try and make it about the same size as the tip of your finger. The shape of the Play-Doh should resemble a headphone earbud.

Step 5: Put on the Button

Now add the piece you will use as a button. I used a penny but anything that is conductive will work. This includes Play-Doh, tin foil, and many foods like fruits and vegetables. Attach your button to the other clip you did not put the Play-Doh on. Try and have as much of the clip touching the button as possible.

Step 6: Connect It

You are done with your awesome controller! Now just lightly push the Play-Doh onto the screen. When you press the button it should act just like you are touching the screen. Make sure that the Play-Doh touching the screen is about the same size as your finger.

Step 7: Have Fun

Time to play! Here are some ideas of how you can use your new controller.

Play games like tiny wings that have simple tap controls.

Make multiple controllers and attach them to the keys in a piano app.

Put the end of the wire in a bowl full of water. use the water as a button.

Use multiple controllers and create a full game pad including a D-Pad and buttons.

Have a great idea on how to use these awesome controllers? Share it in the comments below.

Step 8: More Info

After a little while the Play-Doh will dry out and will stop working. To help prevent this keep your creation in an air tight container.

This project was in part ispired by the Makey Makey. For more ideas for your controller check out

How it works:
Most smart phones and tablets work by sensing the electricity in your finger when you touch the screen. This controller simply transfers the electricity into the button, through the wire, and onto the screen. The device can not tell the difference between your finger or this controller.
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