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Quad Control

Adaptive Devices for Independent Living and Recreation

Ken Yankelevitz

Ken Yankelevitz

KYE was started in 1981 when Atari referred me to a teenaged quadriplegic in Pennsylvania who wanted to play video games. He was depressed and his family and church were searching for something to spark his interest in living after his accident.

That led me to one of the foremost rehab facilities in the country, Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, where I met several rehab specialists and Kirk Kilgour, a quadriplegic and former athlete who had played professionally for 5 years after a stellar college career, and who had been trying to get someone to build him a joystick so he could still compete using video games. We got together and I designed something that worked for him, and which the children’s recreation therapy department embraced. Some of the patients were as young as 8 years old, and the motor skills and coordination needed to play the games with a mouth controller strengthened their neck and mouth muscles, the only ones they could still use. The fun they had and the joy it brought them convinced me to continue this work.

I was an aerospace engineer working for McDonnell Douglas designing flight simulators, and when approached by Atari, I applied my design skills and knowledge to making adaptive equipment for quadriplegics and others who have lost the ability to use their hands due to illness or accident. Now that I’m retired from aerospace, I enjoy the challenges of incorporating more features into my products.

I have had technical help and referrals from many of the game manufacturers over the years. Several of our customers play video games most of their waking hours, and one is ranked in the top 100 in the world in the internet version of Navy SealsĀ®. Our customers are children up to middle-aged. For most, it is one of the only things they can do and be on an equal playing field with their friends.

Ken Yankelevitz