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How Project Fiona Works

        Tech | Tablet PCs

This view of the back of Project Fiona shows the way the controllers are attached, yet separate from the tablet body.
This view of the back of Project Fiona shows the way the controllers are attached, yet separate from the tablet body.
Image courtesy of Razer

Titlle: Project Fiona's Controllers

Project Fiona isn't Razer's first stab at creating video game controllers. The company sells the Onza, a controller designed for Xbox 360 and PC, and the Hydra, a motion control system a bit like the Nintendo Wii or PlayStation Move. The Hydra used magnetic motion sensing to detect the location and positioning of its two separate controllers, designed to be held simultaneously in the left and right hands. To complement motion controls, each Hydra controller featured an analog thumbstick, triggers and face buttons much like traditional controllers. Much of Hydra's design -- minus the magnetic motion sensing -- made its way into Project Fiona.

Fiona's two controllers are rounded cylinders, but they bulge slightly at the top to make space for two trigger buttons designed to be pressed by players' index fingers. The triggers are embedded in the backs of the controllers. On the front, two thumbsticks will offer the typical dual-stick controls that you'd find on a PS3 or Xbox 360 (just imagine one of those controllers being cut in half).

The button layout is Project Fiona's biggest departure from traditional game controls: While both Sony and Microsoft's controllers use a cross layout of four buttons, Fiona has four buttons on each side of the tablet. And they're not arranged the way gamers expect: Two buttons are stacked on each side, with a bit of empty space in between the two columns. Those buttons are numbered 1 through 4 on each side. Two less visible black buttons -- likely equivalent to "Start" and "Select" on traditional controllers -- are placed below the two columns.

Project Fiona's controllers look like handlebars for the tablet body, but everything about the design is subject to change between concept and final product. Razer may change the button layout to mimic other game controllers, but having four more face buttons than the Xbox 360 or PS3 could give Project Fiona some nice customizability when it comes to PC games.

At least, assuming Project Fiona becomes a real device. Can Razer really release a powerful gaming PC in tablet form for under $1,000? And would anyone buy it?


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