It’s been four years since Microsoft announced the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a groundbreaking and customizable device that adapts to users’ abilities. And now, Microsoft hopes to make PCs more accessible with a line of incredible Adaptive Accessories—a mouse, a wireless hub, and a big button.
Like the Xbox Adaptive Controller, these new Adaptive Accessories take a “one size fits one” approach to accessibility. They are extremely customizable, both at the software and hardware level.
Take the Adaptive Buttons, for example. This device features eight inputs that you can customize to perform specific tasks, keyboard shortcuts, or automated macros for every app. More importantly, its control surface is hot-swappable. Just twist off the included directional pad and replace it with a joystick, a pair of large push-buttons, or a 3D-printed item that’s specifically made to suit your abilities.
Microsoft’s Adaptive Mouse offers a similar level of customization. The mouse itself is actually quite small and flat—on its own, it could be useful to those with limited mobility, limb loss, or repetitive stress injuries. But you can slot the Adaptive Mouse into a variety of add-on products, including one that basically turns it into the Microsoft Arc Mouse.
And while the Adaptive Hub isn’t exactly “customizable,” it’s the brains of any Adaptive PC or smartphone setup. You can wirelessly connect up to four accessories to this hub, plus an unspecified number of wired accessories over 3.5mm cable (Logitech sells such accessories). The Hub also has a large button to switch through user profiles, which may come in handy when sharing Adaptive Accessories with others.
Notably, Microsoft is partnering with Shapeways, a 3D printing service. Customers can visit Shapeways to find and order 3D printed add-ons for the Adaptive Accessories. (I imagine that Microsoft will share project files to help people 3D print their own accessories.)
For more information on Microsoft’s Adaptive Accessories, I suggest checking out the company’s official blog post or Cherlynn Low’s exclusive hands-on video at Engadget. You could also tune in to the Ability Summit, which covers all of Microsoft’s accessibility technologies.