You know what day is today? Why, of course, it’s the Ability Summit. This special virtual event is a way for Microsoft to bring together people with disabilities alongside industry professionals to build the future of accessibility and disability inclusion.
The company has always been at the forefront of this domain, as it works to make modern technologies easier to use not just for people with disabilities but average users as well.
One recent example is the success of the Xbox Adaptive Controller platform that lets people create a unique controller for those who cannot user a standard gamepad.
Now, Microsoft has announced a similar set for non-gaming audiences.
The idea behind this Adaptive Accessories project is to let users with special needs create their own input devices that can replace or complement conventional keyboards and mice. The series is comprised of three gadgets: Adaptive Hub, Adaptive Mouse, and Adaptive Buttons.
First of these is the Adaptive Mouse, a module that houses basic mouse controls like the left and right buttons, a wheel, and a sensor. Users have the option of pairing their mouse with custom 3D printed tails that adapt to their specific physical needs.
They also get a tail with a palm rest and a swappable thumb rest.
Next up, the Adaptive Buttons accessory is designed to provide up to eight customizable buttons for performing different tasks. And like the Adaptive Mouse, users can tailor controls to their needs and 3D print accessories to make pressing them easier.
And finally, the Adaptive Hub allows connecting up to four wireless buttons and several additional controls using 3.5mm jacks like the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
All these new Adaptive Accessories should pair nicely with existing hardware Microsoft has for people with disabilities. The recently released Surface Adapter Kit, for example, makes it easier to physically operate a compute, locate ports, and work with cables.
Microsoft Adaptive Accessories are tracking to go on sale this fall, though we are yet to receive pricing details of these welcome little gadgets.