At its annual Ability Summit event this week, Microsoft has announced the latest step in its bid to make technology more inclusive and accessible to all kinds of users. The company introduced the Microsoft Adaptive Accessories lineup, making it easier for users with limited mobility to use their PCs comfortably and effectively.
There are a few products that are part of this line, starting with the Microsoft Adaptive Mouse, which can be customized with the Microsoft Adaptive Mouse Tail and Thumb Support to fit your specific needs. The thumb support accessory can be used on either side of the mouse, so it’s ideal for both left- and right-handed users. If the tail and thumb support from Microsoft doesn’t work well enough for you, the mouse even supports custom 3D-printed tails, so you can build something that’s just right, and Microsoft says the final product should still be light and portable.
The other accessories are more so part of a group, which includes the Microsoft Adaptive Hub and Microsoft Adaptive Button. The Microsoft Adaptive Button actually has eight switches inside, each of which is assigned to a specific input or button combination so it becomes easier to do tasks you need to do repeatedly. The hardware itself can be customized with an array of button toppers, including a D-Pad, joystick, or a dual button so you can get the right degree of customizability and accessibility for your specific needs. Similar to the mouse, the Microsoft Adaptive Button also supports 3D printed button toppers, in case the default ones aren’t right for your needs. These buttons are wireless, so you can more easily create a setup where inputs are well within reach.
To use the Microsoft Adaptive Button, you’ll need the Microsoft Adaptive Hub, which is how these buttons connect to your PC. The Microsoft Adaptive Hub supports up to four Adaptive Buttons connected wirelessly at the same time, which should give you a solid range of controls. Not only that, but the hub also has 3.5mm connectors for wired assistive accessories, similar to how Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller operates.
In fact, this whole concept seems to be building off of that controller, and it shows that Microsoft is increasingly committed to making technology more accessible to everyone. Just last year, the company introduced the Surface Adaptive Kit, a series of labels and small accessories meant to make it easier to do specific actions on a PC, like plugging in cables, opening a laptop, or finding the right key.
What Microsoft didn’t reveal was pricing or availability for any of these adaptive accessories. Hopefully, they’ll come to market sooner rather than later.