Microsoft has always been a forerunner when it comes to researching, promoting, and creating accessibility devices in the past years. Truth is, back in 2018, Microsoft launched the Xbox Adaptive Controller specifically designed to aid gamers with limited mobility. Microsoft has been expanding its research and development for accessibility PC accessories with their other initiatives.
As part of the company’s 12th annual Ability Summit, Microsoft has announced and unveiled a lineup of adaptive PC accessories. This new ecosystem of peripherals aims to further help gaming PC accessibility problems. The range of electronic devices aims to be very flexible and easy to use. Even more, it enables users to build their unique setup according to their specific needs.
The lineup, called Microsoft Adaptive Accessories, is not only for gaming PC accessories. It aims to boost accessibility across different devices running Windows OS (operating system). The range includes a wireless customizable button with multiple functions. Using 3D printed parts, this peripheral can be used as an alternative keyboard for gaming and working. An adaptive mouse can also get paired with different parts called tails to transform its form factor according to the individual’s needs.
Getting a Closer Look At Microsoft’s Adaptive PC Accessories
The latest lineup of Microsoft’s PC accessories provides an easy-to-use system that is very pliant. Each piece has been designed with people with disabilities in mind. The company has teamed up with the disability community to encourage and empower people having difficulties using traditional keyboards and mice. Microsoft aims to help these people build their ideal computer setup with the right devices.
The company hopes to increase their productivity and use their favorite programs more efficiently. Thinking deeper about it, traditional mice and keyboards are not meant for people with disabilities. These PC accessories present a hindrance for those with limited mobility. Hence, Microsoft’s adaptive peripherals works in various functions and alleviate a painful feature for those who find it complex to use their computers to their advantage.
Adaptive PC Accessories Announced by Microsoft
As previously mentioned, Microsoft announced its upcoming range of adaptive PC accessories during its 12th yearly Ability Summit. The lineup has three main components aimed at empowering people with limited mobility. With these components, they can 3D print various parts to customize their mouse, keyboard, and shortcuts in a way that works best for their personal needs.
Microsoft Adaptive Mouse
First on the list is the Microsoft Adaptive Mouse. Users can configure it with a Microsoft Adaptive Thumb Support and Mouse tail. Or they can print out 3D tails that can make the mouse truly work for them. The overall concept includes a Microsoft Adaptive mouse core, thumb support, and tail extension.
All of these parts come together to seamlessly mimic a light and portable traditional mouse but are specifically for the user. Last but not the least, the thumb support is adjustable to cater to the right or left-handedness of the person.
Adaptive Central Hub
Next on the list is a Microsoft Adaptive Hub that can augment or even replace normal keyboards with a central hub and wireless buttons in their stead. The Microsoft Adaptive Hub can work with at most four Microsoft Adaptive buttons.
This seamless connection paves way for less cable clutter amongst multiple PC accessories and connections. More importantly, this hub has works with standard 3.5mm jacks and has three profiles that the user can personalize with multiple devices.
The Microsoft Adaptive Buttons are highly customizable to your preferred inputs. It comes with different button toppers – D-pad, Dual Button, and Joystick – and a design that allows you to 3D print your own button topper for your personal needs.
It adds 8 programmable macros to your computer with the use of two large and pressable buttons. The wireless feature and design offer versatility to users with limited mobility so they can create a PC setup that is most suitable and efficient for them.
On another note, Microsoft also announced its latest Inclusive Tech Lab. This new facility is an expansion of their previous Xbox adaptive controller laboratory in 2017. Now located in a larger space, the new Inclusive Tech Lab has more visitors and use their personal feedback to improve the creation of adaptive PC accessories and other tech products.
Microsoft claims that the Inclusive Tech Lab’s purpose is to be a safe haven for people with disabilities. The modular design of the Lab is made to adapt to the world’s ever-changing times. As well as conform to various needs such as design discussions on new products and services.
Accessibility has always been a hot issue in the tech industry. Getting companies on board to provide support for users with limited mobility and recognize their needs has always been an uphill battle.
But it is noteworthy that Microsoft has started so many notable productions when it comes to adaptive PC accessories. The company continues its vision and mission in the hopes that other big tech corporations follow suit.