Dezeen Magazine

Several Microsoft computer accessories laid out on a plain surface

Microsoft releases adaptive computer accessories for people with disabilities

American technology company Microsoft has unveiled a set of accessories designed to make it easier for people with limited mobility or visual impairments to use a computer or laptop.

Comprising a customisable mouse with multiple attachments, a replacement keyboard, a device for pressing buttons and multiple detachable accessories, Microsoft's Adaptive Accessories range can be customised to suit different bodies and needs.

The collection, which will be available in the autumn, has been developed by Microsoft's Inclusive Tech Lab, a branch of the company that develops products specifically for people with disabilities.

It was designed to make using computer accessories more comfortable.

"A traditional mouse and keyboard may pose obstacles for someone with limited mobility," the brand said.

"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."

A fist using Microsoft Adaptive Accessories
Microsoft has launched a range of computer accessories for people with disabilities

Included in the Adaptive Accessories range is a square-shaped lightweight mouse with two buttons on either side of a scrolling wheel, which users can customise with different attachments.

A mouse tail can be added to create a palm- or armrest for more comfort, and a joystick can be added to the top of the mouse to make pressing buttons and moving directions easier.

Other accessories include a thumb support, which users can apply to either side of the mouse depending on whether they are left or right-handed.

A person with a disability using laptop accessories
It includes a square mouse pad that can be customised

The tech company has also developed the Microsoft Adaptive Hub, a replacement for the traditional computer keyboard that allows users to create keyboard inputs and shortcuts tailored to suit their specific needs.

Shaped like a black rectangular box that looks similar to a remote control, the hub can be wirelessly connected to up to four "buttons" or accessories in the range.

The third main component in the range is the Adaptive Button, a smaller square device that can be topped with a d-pad, joystick, or dual button to perform different tasks such as keystrokes.

The mouse and the button device wirelessly connect to the keyboard hub, which can then be linked to a computer or a smartphone.

Microsoft created each item – which comes with rechargeable batteries – in partnership with people with disabilities, and the collection was designed to be used with any Windows PC or laptop.

The company's aim was for the customisable designs to give more people with disabilities an opportunity to create their ideal setup, increase efficiency and use computers and laptops more effectively.

Black computer accessories
An attachable joystick, wheel scroller and wireless buttons are also available

This is not the first time the tech company has created designs for users with disabilities.

It has been working on making hardware more accessible for the past seven years, and its Inclusive Tech Lab was also responsible for the brand's Xbox Adaptive Controller, which came out in 2018.

Microsoft also previously teamed up with research group Future Cities Catapult to create a headset that helps blind people navigate around urban areas using a "3D soundscape".

Alongside the release of its adaptive Xbox controller, the brand also redesigned the packaging to better suit gamers with disabilities.

Images courtesy of Microsoft.