Microsoft introduces new accessories and a new Accessibility Lab

To unveil its new Inclusive Tech Lab dedicated to designing innovative products for people with disabilities, Microsoft took advantage of Tuesday’s Ability Summit to showcase a whole gallery of new PC accessories to complement the controller and the already-launched decals.

Accessibility for all products, all services and all accessories. That anything created within Microsoft can be used by anyone, regardless of their physical condition and capabilities. This has always been Satya Nadella’s mantra and message sent to the Redmond campus teams.

This radiates in the overall philosophy of the company, but also in every market launch. And it’s probably not without reason that the company has been organizing its Microsoft Ability Summit for more than 10 years, having also hosted an Xbox Accessibility Showcase last year. The opportunity to take stock of the latest innovations related to Windows 11, the Edge browser and gaming at Xbox, or even overall operations at Microsoft.

A new lab as speaker

This Tuesday’s relaunch of the Accessibility Summit was no exception. But it was also an opportunity for the Redmond-based company to unveil its brand new Inclusive Tech Lab, successor to the original lab set up by the Xbox team in 2017 to develop the adaptive controller with well-known success. A controller that has significantly changed the lives of gamers with disabilities.

Microsoft introduces new accessories and a new Accessibility Lab
The Xbox booth with an adaptive controller for gaming during Paris Games Week 2019 // Source: Xbox

And with the same desire to facilitate access to technologies, the new laboratory will go into operation “,to learn how to develop specifically for people with various disabilities‘ explains Microsoft. “Through the accessibility of technology, we can positively impact the way people learn, work, live and playsays Dave Dame, Product Accessibility Manager at Microsoft.

Microsoft introduces new accessories and a new Accessibility Lab
Source: microsoft

The space will therefore accommodate employees of companies wishing to invest in the accessibility of products, software and services, but also partners and members of the community in a modular space adapted to different needs. “We want to make the Inclusive Tech Lab an ambassador for people with disabilities, not a place for them‘ we bang internally.

New accessories even better adapted

And to support the philosophy as well as show the extent of the lab’s expanded capabilities, Microsoft has unveiled a new line of matching accessories. Last year, the Surface Adaptive Kit made Microsoft products even easier for people with physical or visual disabilities to identify devices with a series of tabs and stickers. The range is growing this year.

Microsoft announces an Accessibility Kit for Surface products. It is ingenious, complete to facilitate use for people with disabilities through stickers, fasteners and other systems. Without having to change the product. #Surface Event pic.twitter.com/W30szwuU6g

— Melinda Davan-Soulas (@Melinda_DS) 09/22/2021

Each element has been developed in collaboration with the disabled community to ensure that the use is optimal, the way the mouse or keyboard can respond in particular to a motor problem, but also easier to use with their everyday software . A wide range of coordinated accessories is available for this purpose.

Here we find an adaptive mouse that can be personalized according to physical needs and abilities. Mouse designed in 3D on request, its tail extension on the back, its thumb rest that can slide to the right or left, or its customizable heart are trendy.

Microsoft introduces new accessories and a new Accessibility Lab
New Accessibility Accessories // Source: Microsoft

But perhaps the heart of the Matrix will be the Microsoft Adaptive Hub, a centralized hub that allows wireless configuration and management of up to four Adaptive Keys. This little prop also has USB-C ports. Depending on the device, three profiles can be defined.

Some of the buttons and accessories offered for the hub include a joystick, d-pad, dual button, or custom button, which you can also have 3D printed to meet specific needs. It all works with any product. Windows.

All of these accessories will be available next fall. No price has been communicated yet.


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