the power of magic, unicorns, and whatever else we use to make adapters
February 7, 2020 8:35 AM   Subscribe

"People spend a lot of time and money adjusting themselves so that they can sit and be positioned for maximum comfort and effectiveness in their power wheelchairs. If we can transfer that energy into their gaming set up, why not? Instead of having to figure out new positions with pillows and anything else that someone might need to be comfortable and play games, this would give them the option to enjoy these virtual worlds with the comforts they have already figured out. " The XBox Adaptive controller (previously and previouslier) can now be paired with the free Freedom Wing Adapter to turn a power wheelchair into a game controller.

The adapters were invented as a collaboration between AbleGamers and ATMakers, and are being provided through a grant process from AbleGamers. DIY instructions are on the way.
posted by Stacey (11 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Ooo, that's slick!
posted by aramaic at 8:44 AM on February 7

What a neat idea!
posted by praemunire at 8:46 AM on February 7

now do jetpacks
posted by lalochezia at 8:49 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

Do not do jetpacks.
posted by mhoye at 9:02 AM on February 7

this is awesome
jetpacks are awesomer
posted by lalochezia at 9:26 AM on February 7

Paging scruss....
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:37 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I saw this, but wasn't at ATIA this year to be at the launch in person. I can't say enough good things about ATMakers (which, at its core, is just one person) and the adaptivity group at Microsoft. What you can do now with a tiny (cheap!) ARM Cortex-M microcontroller in terms of physical computing is incredible. This is the good kind of disruption. I just hope that the mobility-industrial complex don't shut it down with a warranty issue or firmware blocker.

For most disabilities orgs, gaming access hasn't been a thing until very recently. Service provision has traditionally been bread-heavy and light on the roses. Even the org I work for has been stunned by the size of the need, and we're one of the few groups that's not localized around a small group of people. As a Worthwhile Canadian Initiative we're still far smaller than the effort this whole continent needs.

A further recent yay for accessibility are the Raspberry Pi Foundation's first steps in incorporating the Orca screen reader into their OS. They're serious about addressing accessibility, and only good things can come out of this.
posted by scruss at 11:13 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]

this is rad!
serious question: does anyone know why nintendo seems to be like, ten million years behind everyone else as far as accessibility goes?
posted by capnsue at 11:56 AM on February 7

serious question: does anyone know why nintendo seems to be like, ten million years behind everyone else as far as accessibility goes?

Because all of the regional Nintendos are completely under the control of NoJ. NoJ, meanwhile, makes all of their decisions from a room in Japan, with the door welded shut since the late 1980s, where the only outside contact is occasionally slipping paper under the door.
posted by zekesonxx at 12:11 PM on February 7

serious question: does anyone know why nintendo seems to be like, ten million years behind everyone else as far as accessibility goes?

Which is ironic since one of the primary extensions to the Xbox adaptive controller is literally a Nintendo Wii nunchuck.

The whole project is very cool and it's amazing that MS is paying good attention to this space. However I still find this hard to swallow.

The button interface for the adaptive controller is a bog-standard 1/8" headphone jack, which operates as a dumb electrical contact. These buttons are $85 microswitches. How is that not predatory?
posted by CaseyB at 12:20 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]

CaseyB — yes, it can be. That's why the org I work for develops and promotes low-cost switches such as the MMC "Round Flexure Switch - 60 mm" (not gonna self-link, but that phrase should find it; also, project link in my profile) that comes in around $5. A lot of commercial assistive technology is priced for the health insurance market, where our work doesn't reach.

We're both flattered and slightly put out that Logitech have come out with the Adaptive Gaming Kit to directly compete with us. Flattered because we (a charity) saw a market that the commercial market didn't value at first. Put out because Logitech's mass production knocks our makerspace quality into a cocked hat at a not-impossibly-expensive price. Still, because of corporate sponsorship, we can give a bunch of our kit away for free … and of course, ATMakers have already developed mounts for Logitech's kit.
posted by scruss at 1:33 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]

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