At the 12th annual Microsoft Ability Summit early this week (May 10-11), the company made an important hardware announcement. Specifically, the introduction of new Microsoft Adaptive Accessories that Redmond says will help increase productivity for users with disabilities.
While the Microsoft Adaptive Accessories will not launch until this fall, Microsoft offered details on them at the Ability Summit. The accessories are three components specifically designed to allow more efficient and seamless input onto PCs for disabled users.
They are customizable and configurable to allow users to personalize the devices for their own needs.
First up is the Microsoft Adaptive Mouse, which is a wireless mouse that can function on up to three devices (or via USB-C). Microsoft points out this product can be used as a regular mouse, but also comes with modular abilities to connect with other Microsoft Adaptive Accessories.
Furthermore, the Adaptive Mouse has a thumb support additional accessory that switches sides between left and right. Users can customize the mouse to include the mouse tail, a 3D printed component. Alternatively, customers can create their own 3D printed mouse tails.
Adaptive Hub and Adaptive Buttons
Next is the Microsoft Adaptive Hub, which connects to three devices wireless or through USB-C too. It will also connect with up to four Microsoft Adaptive Buttons, which are wireless buttones that have eight programmable commands. Users can choose between a joystick, d-pad, or dual pad button.
“The new Microsoft adaptive accessories provide a highly adaptable, easy-to-use system,” says Microsoft's Dave Dame in a blog post. “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. A traditional mouse and keyboard may pose obstacles for someone with limit mobility. 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.”
Tip of the day: With many reachable wireless access points popping up and disappearing again, the available networks list can become quite annoying. If needed you can use the allowed and blocked filter list of Windows to block certain WiFi networks or all unknown WiFi networks.