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.