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Use a PS3 controller as a keyboard and mouse device.
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PS3 Board

Author: Terrence Howard <>


PS3 Board gives the operator the ability to use their PS3 controller as a keyboard and mouse combination on their computer.


As of right now, the only computer that the program has been tested on has the following specs:

  • ASUS N53SV-XV1 Laptop
  • Fedora 18 (KDE)
  • Kernel: 3.8.4-202.fc18.x86_64
  • gcc (GCC) 4.7.2
  • The controller must be plugged in via usb, and the device file at /dev/input/js0


Right now I am currently using Netbeans 7.3 with the c++ plugin. The additional parameters required to compile are:

-L/usr/X11R6/lib -lX11


At the moment, the controller is not a full replacement for a keyboard. That being said, as long as you are not writing code with it, it is for the most part usable.

The following is a basic representation of the controls:

  • Enter: [start]
  • Escape: [select]
  • Control: [R2]
  • Shift: [L2]
  • Alt: [PS3]
  • Up: [D-Up]
  • Left: [D-Left]
  • Right: [D-Right]
  • Down: [D-Down]
  • Page Up: [R2 + D-Up]
  • Page Down: [R2 + D-Down]
  • Home: [R2 + D-Left]
  • End: [R2 + D-Right]
  • Move Mouse: [Right Analog]
  • Left Click: [L3]
  • Right Click: [R3]
  • Space: [R1]
  • Backspace: [L1]

Now, for the fun part: Typing!

The current setup for typing is using a combination of the [Left Analog] and [Triangle], [Circle], [Square], or [X] buttons.

There are currently two required and one optional steps to provide a keystroke.

  1. (optional) Press [R2] or [L1] for Shift or Ctrl functionality.
  2. move and hold the [Left Analog] into the correct position (positions to be shown later in the document).
  3. press and release one of the [Triangle], [Circle], [Square], or [X] buttons.
  4. (optional) release the [Left Analog] joystick.

Positions of [Left Analog]

The [Left Analog] has been divided into a table of 3 rows with 3 columns. The table starts from the BOTTOM LEFT, just as a calculator or the number pad does.

Just so were on the same page as the positions of the [Left Analog], the following is an ASCII representation:

7 8 9
4 5 6
1 2 3


In order to understand how the characters are mapped, you must understand the positions of the [Left Analog].

Each of the four buttons, [Triangle], [Circle], [Square], or [X], currently has nine characters mapped to them. The character selected out of the nine depends on the position of the [Left Analog] at the time of pressing the [Triangle], [Circle], [Square], or [X] button.

For example, to enter the letter "t", move the [Left Analog] to the 8th position (directly up) and press [X]. This combination can be referred to as < 8X >, representing the 8th position on the [Left Analog] map and the [X] button.

The following are the shorthand representations for the buttons:

  • X = [X]
  • T = [Triangle]
  • C = [Circle]
  • S = [Square]

The following are a few examples of combinations, and their results:

<8X> t
<8X> h
<8X> i
<8X> s
[R1] (space)
<8X> i
<8X> s
[R1] (space)
<8X> a
[R1] (space)
<8X> t
<5X> e
<3x> s
<8X> t
<5C> .

will result in the following: "this is a test."

Character Maps

The following are the mappings for the buttons:


a t n
h e i
o s r


l d c
m u w
f g y


b k v
q . x
p j z


7 8 9
4 5 6
1 2 3

Shortcuts (copy, paste, save, etc.)

It is possible to do the traditional shortcuts like on a keyboard.

  • Hold the control button [R2]
  • Move the [Left Analog] into the correct page.
  • Press the appropriate mapping.

For example:

R2 + <2X> --> ctrl+s

Known Issues

There are of course going to be issues with a new project. Some of the following are ones I hope to soon resolve:

  • No zero key available.
  • Can not click and focus into another window.
  • The controller must be plugged in via usb.
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