Microsoft makes customisable computer accessories for users with disabilities and easy navigation
A new and innovation prototype for Microsoft Adaptive Accessories has been created, which allows users to customise their mouse and keyboard, as well as other inputs and shortcuts.
Microsoft says the range of accessible computer accessories was designed with users who have disabilities in mind. John Helmes, an industrial designer at the company, says his disabled daughter’s experience using the computer at school inspired him to develop a more accessible experience.
“In the beginning, it was, Jara can’t use a PC. I’m her father. Let’s hack a way for her to use the PC” says Mr Helmes. “But really quickly, I thought, hold on. If this works for her, this could have the same impact for so many other people.”
The Microsoft Adaptive Accessories are intended to be either a replacement or an augmentation for a user’s mouse and keyboard, namely for those who suffer from limited mobility, but also for people who are simply looking for an easier way to navigate their computer.
The Adaptive Mouse can be customised with different attachments, such as an extension for the mouse tail, or thumb support. Also, users can create alternative inputs with the Adaptive Hub and Adaptive Button, for people who struggle to use a standard computer keyboard.
“The Microsoft Adaptive Accessories are intended to remove the barriers that traditional mice and keyboards may present to people with limited mobility”, says Gabi Michel, director of Accessible Accessories at Microsoft.
“No two people are alike, and empowering people to configure their own system that works for them was definitely the goal.”
Microsoft has said its Adaptive Accessories are one part of a long-term goal to produce more inclusive technology products and services.