New Xbox Adaptive Controller – Try it out!

Owen and friend play with XboxIf you are a New England Patriots fan you watched a wonderful Super Bowl win a few weeks ago and, no doubt, enjoyed the many special Super Bowl ads which have become almost as popular as the game itself. So, you probably saw the special advertisement featuring a group of children extolling the virtues of the newly released Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller (if you missed the ad, we’ve provided a link below). As they say, the video “went viral” but not just because of the product, but the impact of the product on the lives of children with disabilities.

“What I like about the Adaptive Controller is that now everyone can play…”

About the new device

Microsoft Xbox Adaptive ControllerAs reported in the AT3 Center’s Blog, the Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller was released last September and is the first of its kind video game controller designed specifically for people with disabilities.

Ben Jacobs, Accommodations Specialist at GA Tools for Life, and a gamer since childhood, doesn’t mince words about the significance of this release, “For a first-party company to acknowledge there’s a demographic they were missing and create a controller is amazing. Also, I can’t think of how to make this controller any better than it is.” In a recent article in the AT3 Center’s Monthly Blog, Jacobs goes on to explain: “The Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) falls into the category of gorgeous AT. While its branding fits with other Xbox controllers, it is distinguished by two large responsive black buttons set in an elegant bone console. Jacobs stresses, however, that the central achievement of the XAC is how it works as a hub to allow for all kinds of customization.”

And, according to the touching video ad which shows a half dozen children using the Xbox Adaptive Controller, apparently it is a hit with kids. As one boy in the video says, “I love video games, my friends, my family and again video games…” The boy’s father, moved to tears, is later seen in the ad saying, “It’s his way if interacting with his friends when he can’t physically otherwise do it…”

For the AT techs and gamers, Jacobs notes the Controller houses 19 3.5 mm input jacks and two USB ports for switch accessibility to every function, a testament to Microsoft’s commitment to building a device that works within the existing AT ecosystem. He adds, “for gamers with motor disabilities, this is profound. The Xbox Adaptive Controller’s built-in buttons will work for some users (and the console is ready for mounting with three threaded holes), but the unit’s interoperability with third-party switches means individuals with an existing method of gaming on a PC can get quickly comfortable on the Xbox.”

“Whether it’s a head array or switches for use with a knee, however a gamer uses switches, they can use the Xbox controller,” Jacobs says.

Try Before You Buy

AT4Maine - Assistive Technology of All Maine PeopleWhile the Xbox Adaptive Controller is reasonably priced at around $100 it is always great when you can “try it before you buy it” just to make sure a product is right for you or your family member. Fortunately, Kevin Good, Special Education faculty at the University of Maine Farmington and coordinator of the Center for Assistive Technology’s Collection of Assistive Technology (AT) at UMF anticipated this need and added TWO of the Xbox Adaptive Controller to the university’s AT collection. Supported by Maine CITE, Maine’s Assistive Technology Act program, the Adaptive Controllers are part of a statewide collection of AT that is available to all citizens of Maine. Information about these devices, and over 1,200 other assistive technology devices that are available to borrow on a short-term loan, may be found at AT4Maine.org the online repository for the UMF collection, as well as three other AT equipment loan centers in Maine.

We’ve included the video of the Xbox Adaptive Controller ad below on the chance that you haven’t seen it. We’re sure you’ll enjoy it.

As Owen, the boy in the video says, “What I like about the Adaptive Controller is that now everyone can play…”

Special thanks to AT3 Center’s Eliza Anderson for the article See Xbox for All featuring the interview with Ben Jacobs.

Spurwink ALLTECH opens store in Portland

Website Launch and Store Opening

Spurwink-ALLTECH logoSpurwink ALLTECH has announced the re-opening of the Assistive Techology Equipment Reuse and Loan Store in Portland and the launch of the new website spurwinkalltech.org.

Equipment Reuse

The new Portland location at 892 Riverside Street, offers consumers access to gently-used recycled durable medical equipment at a much-reduced cost, as well as short-term loans of Assistive Technology equipment. Some items available for purchase or loan include scooters, wheelchairs, canes, and bath chairs.

The Assistive Techology Equipment Reuse and Loan Store, which  was previously located in Bangor, also accepts donations of gently-used durable medical equipment to be cleaned and repaired and offered to consumers.

Demonstration/Loan

The Portland store will also house ALLTECH’s assistive technology demo and loaner program. With over 140 AT devices in the inventory, the demo/loan program allows Mainer to try before they buy.

 

Store Location

892 Riverside Street
Portland, ME 04103

Store hours are:

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Wednesday, Closed

For more information, please call at 207-535-2017 to ask any questions.

New Website

For additional information about ALLTECH’s recycle and reuse program, AT demo and loaner program, or about additional services that ALLTECH offers, please visit the new website at spurwinkalltech.org

 

AT4Maine – A New Service for Mainers who Need Assistive Technology

AT4Maine - Assistive Technology of All Maine PeopleThe AT4Maine website is a new service being offered by Maine CITE and four statewide Assistive Technology (AT) providers. On AT4Maine, consumers will find a wide range of AT devices and products available for a demonstration or short-term loan. AT is any device, piece of equipment or product that makes it easier for someone with a disability to live more independently and safely, work at a job, learn in school, get about their community or pursue play and leisure.

The AT4Maine inventory has hundreds of AT items available to people with disabilities of all ages. It includes communication devices, devices to aid daily living, devices to accommodate vision and hearing, tablets, mobility devices, adaptive computer switches, specialized software and apps.

The four AT providers are CARES, Inc., Pine Tree Society, Spurwink ALLTECH and, the University of Maine Farmington.

AT4Maine.org will enable individuals, families and caregivers to ‘try before they buy’…” says, Kathy Adams, the Maine CITE Program Director. “In the past year, over 600 Mainers were able to borrow AT and with this new website we hope to inform and serve more consumers”

The Maine Department of Education’s Maine CITE Program’s mission is to make assistive technology more available to Maine children, adults and seniors who need them. The program is funded by the federal Administration for Community Living.

Visit AT4Maine…