Microsoft opens Inclusive Tech Lab and announces new adaptive accessories

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Picture: Microsoft

Microsoft announced several new accessibility initiatives across the company on Tuesday at the Microsoft Ability Summit.

The first announcement made by Microsoft is that the company now has a dedicated inclusive technology lab, where Microsoft will continue to work and develop new accessibility features for all types of disabilities.

Windows 11 is getting more accessibility features, some of which are currently available to those testing upcoming versions of Windows 11 through the Insiders program. New features include Focus enhancements with a timer, live captions for any audio that’s playing (during a Zoom or Teams call, for example), and better voice access and more natural narrator voice.

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Picture: Microsoft

Join the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the
Surface adaptation kit

is several new hardware items, all of which will launch this fall. There’s a fully customizable adaptive mouse, with a removable tail and thumb rest. There’s also an adaptive hub that connects wirelessly to the new adaptive buttons and has three different profiles depending on what device you’re using it with. Adaptive buttons offer a myriad of configurations. For example, you can attach a dual button accessory or a joystick to it as needed.

What do you think of Microsoft’s announcements today? Let us know in the comments below.

I think the most important aspect of the new hardware is that you can 3D print different accessories and attach them to the mouse or buttons, allowing you to further customize adaptive devices. Whether it’s a button or a joystick, Microsoft designs and releases the necessary files, or someone else creates a whole new accessory that meets your needs — the ability to build from scratch. ‘existing product at a fraction of the cost that adapters and accessories typically would cost is huge. Certainly, you will need to have access to a 3D printer.

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