What you need to know
- Microsoft has announced a new line of adaptive PC accessories.
- These accessories have been designed in conjunction with disability communities.
- Each accessory is modular and can be configured to fit everyone's needs.
Microsoft's Ability Summit has kicked off in spectacular fashion with the unveiling of a new line of PC accessories designed from the ground up in conjunction with disability communities across the globe. These new accessories are highly adaptable and are built to be modular and customizable to fit everybody's needs.
These new hardware products fall under a new "Microsoft Adaptive Accessories" line, and features an Adaptive Mouse, Adaptive Hub, and Adaptive Buttons. All of the accessories are designed to be modular and configurable, supporting everything from first-party add-ons such as Thumb Supports or Mouse Tails, to custom 3D printed add-ons that enhance your specific use cases.
Microsoft says it used its learnings from creating the Xbox Adaptive Controller to help shape these new Adaptive Accessories for PCs. These devices have been designed to help people who may have difficulty using traditional mice and keyboard designs. The Adaptive Hub and Adaptive Buttons can step in to alleviate pain points for those who find it challenging to get regular tasks done on their computer.
The Adaptive Buttons sync with the Adaptive Hub, which supports up to four wirelessly connected buttons simultaneously. It also has standard 3.5mm assistive tech switches, with three separate profiles for easy switching between different setups and devices. The buttons themselves can vary in design and function too, with options such as D-Pad, joystick, dual-button, or your own custom 3D printed design.
The Microsoft Adaptive Mouse can be customized with Microsoft's own Adaptive Mouse Tail, or Adaptive Thumb Support which can be attached on either left or right sides. The mouse itself is built up of three components; the main mouse core (which contains the laser pointer, left/right click buttons, and scroll wheel,) tail extension (which can be custom 3D printed for use with your own design,) and thumb support.
Microsoft says these new Adaptive Accessories will launch this fall. Pricing and market availability is yet to be announced. The company has also announced a new Inclusive Tech Lab, a division at Microsoft that will learn and develop products with people with various types of disabilities in mind. Microsoft as a company is committed to empowering every person on the planet to achieve more, including those part of disability communities.
The company has also highlighted new accessibility features coming soon to Windows 11 and Microsoft Edge, and has shared resources on how Xbox game developers can build more accessible games.
These are *brilliant*. A big step above their existing accessible accessories for work and a natural progression of their accessible gaming gear. And as I've said before, I think the market for this is larger than those with mobility or dexterity issues. Very excited about this.
Just a simple set of wireless buttons for PageUp and PageDown would be great for me. I could use them with my left hand with my right hand using a mouse or trackball.
Yeah, it should be easy to make it your own. Even if they're not customized, purpose built buttons and dials that each *feel* different (so they can be used by touch) are amazing. Think about how the modern IBM keyboard is designed. Think also about cameras and other tools that are designed with the user's hands in mind.
Good initiative but accessibility is really about a company being seen to be doing something and they should.
In reality this won't be used by persons with disabilities.
A severely impaired individual won't be able to make sense of these devices. It's hard enough just figuring out their own shortcomings.
If they can figure out a computer then they were able to begin with.
Something is better than nothing. The same happened with IDEA or Individuals with Disability Education Act. In the case of IDEA it took a Senator who had a daughter with a disability. It takes a Nadella to shake up an industry that needs to move outside of just giving a individual an ipad to communicate with.
"If they can figure out a computer then they were able to begin with." WTF are you on about?
This is a great step in the right direction. Now, if we had a windows based mobile device that would tie them all together... just sayin'. As this improves interoperability between every other Windows based device (so plenty of opportunity to upsell other devices and Microsoft services). As I said time and time again, plenty of money to be made with accessories and a Windows based mobile ecosystem. Whilst improving accessibility for the handi-capable.
Get the best of Windows Central in in your inbox, every day!
Thank you for signing up to Windows Central. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.