Microsoft and Apple have launched high profile inclusive projects in observation of 2018’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day, helping people with disabilities both shape the technological future and better enjoy it.
Microsoft has introduced an adaptive controller for its Xbox console and PCs, which will help gamers with disabilities play games. Apple, meanwhile, is bringing its Everyone Can Code program to schools for people who are deaf, blind, or have some other accessibility limitation.
Microsoft’s controller, which will cost $100 when it’s released later this year, does away with things like directional pads, triggers, and the standard A/B/Y/X buttons. Instead, it has two large buttons and a number of ports on the back, letting players customize the controller to their individual needs. The buttons can be mounted to a wheelchair or table and the large black buttons can be controlled by a user’s foot.
“In the U.S. we estimate that 14% of Xbox One gamers have a temporary mobility limitation and that 8% of gamers have a permanent mobility limitation,” said Navin Kumar, director of product marketing for Xbox accessories. “We felt like we needed to do more for this audience.”
The company worked with The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, Warfighter Engaged, and Craig Hospital in the design of the adaptive controller to ensure it met a wide variety of needs.
Apple, meanwhile, will roll out the free courses for blind and deaf app coders this fall. It will work, initially, with eight schools for the blind and deaf in California, New York, Austin, and three other sites. The company is also hosting accessibility-related events and sessions for customers all month.
“Apple’s mission is to make products as accessible as possible,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We created Everyone Can Code because we believe all students deserve an opportunity to learn the language of technology. We hope to bring Everyone Can Code to even more schools around the world serving students with disabilities.”