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We tested the adaptive controller for the Xbox One, which allows kids with motor problems to enjoy video games

With adaptive control Ian can play on the Xbox One together with his brother 

Having a video game console and playing online with some friends or adding another control to play with a brother is usually an easy dynamic to recognize in times of quarantine. But not all the boys can play in the conditions that have been raised in the design of the controls: that was the trigger with which Microsoft began to work, together with experts, to manufacture the adaptive control for its Xbox One console, two years ago years , that today can be obtained in Argentina, and that we were testing.

“Technology has the potential to truly empower people with disabilities in new ways,” said Jorge Cella, director of philanthropy for Microsoft Latin America. “It is important to us to think of people and context at the center of the design process of the technology because ultimately accessibility is a human imperative. “

How the adaptive control of the Xbox works

In LA NACION we were testing the control. From the box the communication is very direct: it was so easy to open and unpack that we could do it with one hand.

The control is a good size (almost like a computer keyboard) and has a directional control, with the option and Xbox keys, which allows you to go to the main menu or log in. It also has two large and very resistant buttons in its center that are used to carry out actions.

But the highlight is what we find on the front: there are all the inputs to control all the buttons of the traditional command, with switches or pedals that can be connected to these ports.

In our gaming experience, we plugged in a pedal for full throttle in Forza Horizon 4, something that users with motor difficulties in their arms could also do.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller allows adding various accessories to facilitate access to the commands of the Xbox One and Windows 10 video games

Opening entertainment for everyone

To learn more about the impact of this adaptive control, we spoke with Sheila Graschinsky , head of the Ian Foundation , who, among other things, works on the dissemination of technological resources to improve the quality of life of those with motor or cerebral palsy problems. .

On the device, Graschinsky told us that “Many kids with motor problems who were spectators before, can now play . At the foundation we have some adaptable controls for the Xbox and it is incredible to see a young man of 18 years and his mom crying with emotion. “

Graschinsky knows about these inclusion issues first hand: She is the mother of Ian, who is 11 years old and suffers from cerebral palsy. “Since Ian is in control he can play with his siblings. He is a boy and he has the right to play. I have a closet full of toys that he could never use; now he can do it. Now he spends his afternoons being part of adventures with his siblings Sometimes he plays cooperatively with them, for example, his brother connects conventional control to adaptive control, and Ian does some character actions and the other brother, for example in FIFA , Ian passes and kicks. He has a lot of fun. ” .

The controller is approximately the size of a keyboard and reproduces all the contrasts of a conventional gamepad

In first person

During the video call we made with Sheila Graschinsky we visited Ian in his room: there he was ready to show us how he beat his therapist for the third time in the game Mortal Kombat. But not only combat games are Ian’s favorites: “He also plays the Forza Horizon 4 car game and soccer games with his brothers,” Sheila said.

“We are working since the foundation so that this reaches many people. This has enormous potential, there is nothing similar in the market. We want it to reach rehabilitation centers, therapists and families. Technology enables them to participate in actively, that they relate from another side with their peers and their family, all through the game “shared the head of the foundation.

On the possibilities of adapting the control, Graschinsky indicated that “anything can be added to it, you can even build a home switch with a light button or you can connect cheap switches that are available in any orthopedics.”

On the change that Ian gave access to the world of video games through this control, what Sheila Graschinsky shared with us was very emotional. “It is inevitable to tell you that it changed us as a family: for a mother, when she has a child, the first thing she imagines are the moments of play; and for many families, we find it difficult to find situations to play with our children. For many years I was looking for the magic toy, the saving toy, the one that allowed Ian to play. Today, having this possibility that allows control to be adapted to its possibilities is very mobilizing, “he said.

A side view of the Microsoft control for Xbox One and PC, where each of the connectors has a specific function of the video game controller

The opinion of the specialists

Dr. Claudio Waisburg is a neuropaediatrician , neuroscientist, and director of the SOMA Institute. In an interview with LA NACION, he spoke about how access to the game with technological devices has been modified for people with motor difficulties: “video games today are an experience of social exchange much more than just an individual game of people. It is a tool of socialization and links between peers, having said that and taking into account that around 15% of the world population suffers from some disability, everything that contributes to inclusion and integration has an important aspect. “

Specifically speaking about his fieldwork experience with Microsoft Adaptive Control, Waisburg explained that “the face of happiness and the expression that one sees in the boys who can participate is incredible. The barrier that they can cross through a game, it is only understood when you have felt a lot of frustration and anguish for not having been able to participate, be part and have been one of many in another instance “.

Veronica Bamberger is an occupational therapist at the Fleni Assistive Technology Clinic. As an occupational therapist, your goal is to optimize the performance of users in all areas of occupation, including play, leisure and free time. “Many times children or adolescents who have compromise in their motor skills cannot access it. Through play, they can be protagonists of their world, in a friendly context, which gives them the exchange and the feeling of achievement that they don’t find it in other settings, “he said of his work with patients.

Bamberg is already working with the adaptive controller for Xbox and is satisfied with the results obtained. “I think that this device, given the great versatility in adaptation and customization for each user, brings the possibility of playing more users closer, knocking down one of the many barriers they encounter,” he said.

Availability in Argentina

The control (which can also be connected to a Windows 10 PC with the same functions) is priced at $ 15,000 and is obtained through FundaciĆ³n Ian: they are in charge of its distribution.


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