Read about the early days of ByoWave’s journey to making games more accessible
ByoWave was founded by Brandon Blacoe in July 2020.
Brandon had always wanted to be an engineer and had been fascinated by all things electromechanical and was amazed by the world of video games. When Brandon was young he would sneak into his family game room after hours to play Crash Bandicoot, and when he was a teenager he would take apart consoles to see where this magic came from.
This early fascination drove him to study physics and engineering at University in University College Dublin so that he could try to recreate that positive experience in interesting new ways for himself and others.
Toward the end of his degree, he reconnected with his childhood friend, Eibhlin O’Riordan, when they met by chance at the Global Game Jam in 2020.
The pair went to play school together as children, a time when they would go over to each other’s houses and play Shrek 2 on their PlayStations together (which is a great game by the way).
As you can see here, they were very excited to graduate from play school!
It had been 15 years since Brandon had last met Eibhlin, and while reminiscing about their love for gaming, she told Brandon something that changed his perspective.
Eibhlin told Brandon about her disability, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), and that she couldn’t use standard video game controllers for longer than 30 minutes without experiencing pain. Eibhlin also explained that there were thousands of people online that she had encountered who were also struggling to play games due to the lack of accessible hardware.
This had a major impact on Brandon because of how important the experience of gaming had been to him throughout his life. It immediately opened his eyes to the fact that there are so many people out there whose experience of gaming is limited by existing hardware and it sparked his natural curiosity to understand why.
Brandon knew this was all he wanted to focus on, so he founded ByoWave in July 2020 and got a team on board, starting with Eibhlin. Together they took their first steps on ByoWave’s journey to making gaming more accessible.
Brandon started the company working in an attic in Galway during the Covid Pandemic.
Brandon who was fresh out of college and Eibhlin, working part-time while still in college, would sit together in this attic thinking:
‘How do we solve this problem, and how can we create a scalable solution that will empower thousands of people all over the world to experiment with their input devices, with a couple of laptops a three temperamental 3D printers?’
ByoWave got our first 3D printers using prize money from a student competition and we just started iterating and iterating…and iterating…and they haven’t stopped for 3 years.
As you can see we started with some crude designs, but we couldn’t crack the code on a universal solution. We were testing with people over Zoom at this stage and I had the idea to send people out some building blocks and to try and find commonalities between people’s solutions.
And then some people suggested making these building blocks the product, which made sense, or at the very least, it would accelerate community experimentation toward a larger set of working solutions.
We 3D printed our cube concept and sent it out to testers to see if they could actually build a controller that worked for them. We then 3D printed them, added electronics and tested these configurations in action. From there, we built the modular cubes, and the Proteus Controller was born.
We began manufacturing the Proteus Controller in October 2022, over 2 years after we began.
We are super excited to start testing in June this year. Make sure you sign up to our Discord server to keep in touch!