Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th Sep 2018 23:07 UTC
Microsoft's newest game accessory, the Xbox Adaptive Controller, probably isn't for you. That's just an odds game, when counting the percentage of people who fall into the "limited mobility" camp that this strange, unique controller is aimed at.

But that's the incredible thing about the XAC: that it's targeting a particularly fractured audience. Limited mobility is a giant, vague category, after all, with so many physical ailments to account for (let alone psychological ones). And previous answers in the gaming sphere have typically been specialized, one-of-a-kind controllers for single hands, feet, heads, and more.

XAC wins out in an odd way: by leaving some major work in users' hands. This $99 lap-sized device is truly incomplete on its own, as it's designed from the ground up to require add-on joysticks, buttons, and more. As a result, there's no way to fully review the possibilities Microsoft's XAC opens up for disabled gamers. Still, we've put a retail unit through its paces to see what kind of accessibility canvas this revolutionary "controller" opens up - and exactly how it works - to help limited-mobility gamers and their caretakers decide if its functionality, ease-of-use, and practical cost is right for them.

This is one of the most amazing products Microsoft has ever created. This must've taken a considerable amount of research, development, time, and money - and all that for what is a relatively small group of underserved people in the videogame community. I love how every little detail about this product - from packaging to the final product - is designed solely for people with limited mobility.

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Credit Where Credit Is Due
by Pro-Competition on Fri 7th Sep 2018 00:57 UTC
Member since:

I'm about as big a MS-hater as you can get, but I have to give credit where credit is due. They do some interesting research, but most of that doesn't end up in real products.

This is a rare example of something that is sorely needed, by a significant subset of the population that is usually ignored, and was actually brought to market. Hopefully it's just the start.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Credit Where Credit Is Due
by Morgan on Sat 8th Sep 2018 23:25 UTC in reply to "Credit Where Credit Is Due"
Morgan Member since:

Agreed, I'm of two minds about Microsoft even after their supposed about-face towards F/OSS. However, this device is a godsend for those who needed it, and it appears they did it purely as an act of good faith. They can't possibly make a profit from this; it's truly a benevolent gesture, and a welcome one.

Reply Score: 2

it's a gamer's Raspberry Pi
by gus3 on Fri 7th Sep 2018 02:34 UTC
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It's affordable. It's just 3x the cost of the very first RPi.

It's exposed & expandable. Nineteen 3.5mm jacks? That's half a GPIO header, just looking for new ways to be exploited. After all, 2 bits is enough to detect a spinning touch, driven by a finger, elbow, nose, or toe. I've no doubt someone's building the prototype for it right now.

Next generations will be more capable. There might be a way to transmit a 2D, 3D, or even a crazy 4D (3D+1D?) input via analog and/or digital signals, via the 19 connectors.

I will definitely be following news about the XAC.

Reply Score: 3

Tried it
by andywoe on Fri 7th Sep 2018 08:57 UTC
Member since:

My son has polymyositis. Put shortly: this will enable a game enthusiast with a painful muscle disease to actually compete on near-equal footing. For him, that's life changing.

Reply Score: 3

The sad part
by piratepuppy on Mon 10th Sep 2018 19:54 UTC
Member since:

Good on you MS for making such a well thought out and cost effective gaming device for disabled gamers. Shame some of the accessories are so costly, even though they arent complex or difficult to manufacture. Some of those accessories can be home built for far less than retail using similar parts.

That $100 AbleNet wobble switch is nothing more than a few dollar 3.5 mm cable wired to a rod and spring limit switch you can buy from automationdirect for $27. You can probably find an even cheaper switch if you look.

The others could be built cheaper DiY but that takes time and skill as some of it involves electronics. But the brain dead simple switch and button accessories can be built very easily in minutes with a screwdriver and a few dollar 3.5mm wire.

Reply Score: 1