I have designed and built a joystick that contains no electronic parts -- only fiberoptics. The motion is sensed via quadrature encoding, and the signal processing is handled by an arduino microcontroller.
Here is a similar project for linear position tracking:
This joystick is designed for use in MEG and MRI scanners where the electronics may interfere with the scanner's operation.
Fiber transmitter and receivers:
Avago HFBR-2412TZ (mouser)
Avago HCTL-2032-SC (mouser)
62.5 um glass fiber custom cables from http://www.ecablemart.com/
Code wheel from http://usdigital.com/
- I previously worked on Virtual Reality and other hardware at Valve. I currently work at Google[x].
Prior to starting at Valve, I built computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and joysticks that were designed to be used inside MRI machines. My company, Mag Design and Engineering, sold these devices directly to researchers at academic institutions who used them to publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.
After work, I spend time on many different types of projects that usually involve circuit design, machining, material selection, and general fabrication/hacking. My favorite place to be is my home workshop.
ben dot krasnow at gmail