PlayStation Showcases “Project Leonardo”, Controller with Vast Accessibility and Customization Options

Today at CES 2023, PlayStation introduced a new peripheral in collaboration with accessibility specialists including AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and StackUp. This is Project Leonardo, the company’s next move in empowering gaming. It is a customizable controller kit for gamers with impairments that works “out of the box.” 

The device, which was only briefly presented on stage, seems to be a hub with interchangeable components and plates that users may attach different objects, such as air tubes, pedals, and switches of all types to trigger various buttons. Each Project Leonardo UFO-shaped object may support an analogue joystick and eight buttons, and they can be linked with one another or with a conventional controller to enhance or replace any function. 

Our team tested over a dozen designs with accessibility experts, looking for approaches that would help address key challenges to effective controller use.

We finally settled on a ‘split controller’ design that allows near free-form left/right thumbstick repositionability, can be used without needing to be held, and features very flexible button and stick cap swapping. The controller can also flexibly accept combinations of accessibility accessories to create a unique aesthetic.” 

-Sony Designer So Morimoto

Features and Customizations  

The features and modifications that come with the project, as described by Sony in a blog post, are as follows:

The PS5 console players have an array of options to tailor their Project Leonardo play experience:

  • Button mapping
    • The controller’s buttons can be programmed to any supported function and multiple buttons can be mapped to the same function. Conversely, players can map two functions (like “R2” + “L2”) onto the same button.
  • Control profiles
    • Players can store their programmed button settings as control profiles and easily switch between them by pressing the profile button.
    • Up to three control profiles can be stored and accessed by the player from their PS5 console at any time.

The PlayStation Dualsense controller or any comparable device may be used with Project Leonardo. Players may mix and match devices to suit their unique gaming requirements by using up to two Project Leonardo controllers and one DualSense wireless controller as a single virtual controller.

Image: Sony

Four 3.5mm AUX ports on Project Leonardo allow for expansion to accommodate a range of additional switches and third-party accessibility devices. This makes it possible for users to combine the Project Leonardo controller with customised switches, buttons, or analogue sticks. Each of the external accessories may be set up to function like any other button and can be dynamically linked or detached.

There is currently no release date or pricing for Project Leonardo since it is still under development. We’re hoping to hear more soon from Sony about their project.


Muhammad Zuhair

Passionate about technology and gaming content, Zuhair focuses on analysing information and then presenting it to the audience.
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