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Joystick, in computer science, a popular pointing device, used mostly for playing computer games but used for other tasks as well. A joystick usually has a square or rectangular plastic base to which is attached a vertical stem. Control buttons are located on the base and sometimes on top of the stem. The stem can be moved omnidirectionally to control the movement of an object on the screen.

The buttons activate various software features, generally producing on-screen events. A joystick is usually a relative pointing device, moving an object on the screen when the stem is moved from the center and stopping the movement when the stem is released. In industrial control applications, the joystick can also be an absolute pointing device, with each position of the stem mapped to a specific on-screen location.

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