Microsoft is launching a new line of accessibility accessories designed to give people with disabilities greater access to technology.
As part of its 12th annual Ability Summit, Microsoft announced the new product line, and said the adaptive accessories will allow people with disabilities to create an ideal setup that’s unique to them.
“Each piece is designed in partnership with the disability community to empower people who may have difficulty using a traditional mouse and keyboard to create their ideal setup, increase productivity, and use their favorite apps more effectively”, Microsoft’s director of accessibility David Dame said in the announcement post†
Microsoft’s Adaptive Mouse
“These adaptive accessories can perform a variety of functions, thereby alleviating a pain point for those who find it challenging to get the most out of their PC.”
While each product has a base design, users can choose from several different 3D printed components to find the right fit for them. The mouse product (above), for example, is a standalone square piece at its most simple, but can be combined with other pieces, including fully customizable and printable parts, to create a product literally designed for that user.
Microsoft’s range of keyboard accessories (below) act similarly, and are designed to work in tandem with or completely replace a traditional keyboard. A central hub piece can be paired with up to four adaptive buttons that can each be customized with different toppers such as a directional-pad, joystick, or again, something completely custom-made.
Microsoft’s Adaptive Keyboard Buttons
The adaptive accessories will be available this fall from the Microsoft Store and will join other accessibility initiatives from the company including an Xbox Adaptive Controller that was released in 2018 and built for gamers with limited mobility.
Microsoft has also been advancing accessibility on the software side, introducing guidelines for its developers and even an evaluation system that ensures games are built with all players in mind.
The initiatives appear to be working, as the Xbox Series X includes a number of accessibility focused options and Xbox console exclusive Forza Horizon 5 won IGN’s Noteworthy Advancement in Accessibility award last year.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.