Modern submarines are no longer built with the single rotating, one-person-at-a-time periscope that we're used to seeing in the movies. Instead, periscopes aboard the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class subs consist of two 360-degree rotating photonics masts with high-resolution cameras. Inside the sub’s control room, the feed from those cameras is displayed on a large screen that anyone can see. The masts are controlled by a joystick that apparently no one likes to use.
So, what is the Navy going to replace this unwieldy joystick with? Just your average Xbox 360 controller.
The newest Virginia-class sub, the USS Colorado, is slated for commission by November, and instead of the old $38,000 joystick she’ll be equipped with an Xbox 360 controller to manipulate the periscope for less than $30. Additionally, Xbox controllers will be installed on existing Virginia-class submarines.