Microsoft is leading the way in creating products for disabled people which is going to push others in the industry to create ones of their own. This will definitely splurge competition and drive the prices down which will benefit the disabled community!
Traditional PC input devices can (at most times) be challenging for people with disabilities to use. Microsoft took a step in solving this problem with their Xbox Adaptive Controller for disabled gamers, and then later on with the Surface Adaptive Kit, tailored for ease of use with existing input devices. Taking things forward, they’ve now developed Adaptive Accessories designed for people with disabilities who want something better than the traditional mouse and keyboard setup.
Destined for the second half of the 2022 launch, the PC peripherals are created in close association with the disabled community, understanding their needs in a better way. This line-up consists of three devices namely – an Adaptive Mouse, Adaptive Buttons, and an Adaptive Hub. The first two come with support for customized 3D printing freedom – giving the user option to curate them the way they want to. So, we are talking about completely customizing your mouse, keyboard inputs, and shortcuts to interact optimally with laptops, PC, or even big-screen tablets. Just to give you an idea, the toppers for the buttons can be shaped as per the needs.
The mouse is a small puck-like accessory that can clip into a palm rest, and the tail for the mouse acts as a palm rest. The flipping thumb rest allows the user to use it with the right or left hand with equal dexterity. The low-profile mouse doubles as a joystick, an eight-way D-pad. Those adaptive buttons can be toggles for eight programmable inputs for the PC. In the press release, Microsoft showed off the one with two large buttons.
The inputs can be set for macros or complex keyboard shortcuts which will come more than handy for people with motor disabilities. The normal keyboards can be replaced or augmented with a central hub and wireless buttons to pair with up to four Microsoft Adaptive Buttons, thereby removing unnecessary clutter. This hub works perfectly with 3.5 mm assistive tech switches and comes with three profiles for use with multiple devices.
Microsoft has not yet let out the word on the pricing of the Adaptive Accessories, but the fall launch date is certain. We hope they come at a reasonable price to reach the chunk of disabled end-users who really need them to streamline their productive workflow. More often than not assistive technology carries a premium price tag, and if Microsoft follows suit, then it will be a bit disappointing.