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Microsoft reveals adaptive accessories lineup

Tech giant to launch customisable mouse, buttons and hub in the Autumn

Microsoft has announced a lineup of adaptable PC accessories which help to augment or even replace a keyboard or mouse for people with disabilities. 

There are three different types of devices within the lineup: an adaptive mouse, an adaptive button and an adaptive hub. 

Both the mouse and button are designed to support 3-D printed accessories, making them customisable to suit a range of disabilities or ways of working. The core part of the mouse is a small, squarish device that can clip into a palm rest and the end part can also act as a palm rest. There is also a thumb rest that users can switch around so that it can be used either left or right-handed.

The adaptive buttons can have up to eight buttons, all of which can be specifically programmed. In Microsoft's examples, there is a version with two buttons, just to illustrate how bespoke it can be. The mouse can even be used as a joystick, or as an eight-way D-pad. These can be set up as inputs for macros or more complicated keyboard shortcuts, which could be difficult to action for those with motor disabilities. However, as with the mouse, users can also add 3D printer toppers to the buttons to make them fit specific use cases. 

Microsoft's range of adaptive PC accessories

The adaptive hub also allows for several buttons, up to four, which can signal instructions to a computer or phone. The hub also has a range of 3.5mm jacks for wired accessories, including hardware made by Logitech and even an Xbox adaptive controller. 

These customisable devices will be coming "in the fall" according to Microsoft, though there aren't any details about price, as yet. Still, it is a positive step towards inclusive technology that follows last year's Surface Adaptive Kit launch. That was designed to make existing input devices easier to use.

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