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An Xbox controller with a built-in Braille display is Microsoft’s latest gaming accessibility play – TechCrunch

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Microsoft has been leaning into accessibility in gaming lately, most visibly with its amazing Adaptive Controller, and a new patent suggests another way the company may be accommodating disabled gamers: an Xbox controller with a built-in Braille display.

As you might expect, it’s already quite hard for a visually impaired gamer to play some games, and although that difficulty can’t be entirely alleviated, there are definitely things worth doing. For instance: the text on screen that sighted people take for granted, documenting player status, items, onscreen dialog or directions — how could these be read by a low-vision gamer who might be able to otherwise navigate the game world?

In many circumstances a screen reader is what a visually impaired person would use to interact with this kind of data, but often that text is relayed to them in audio form, which is far less appealing an option when you’re in-game. Who wants to have a computer voice reading off your armor levels and inventory burden while you’re trying to take in the ambient environment?

There are already some Braille display accessories for this kind of thing, but there’s nothing like having support direct from your console’s designer, and that’s what Microsoft has demonstrated with its patent for a Braille-enabled controller.

The patent was filed last year and just recently became public, and was soon spotted by German tech site Let’s Go Digital; there have been no official announcements, though the timing is favorable for an E3 reveal. That said, patents don’t necessarily represent real products in development, though in this case I think it’s worth highlighting regardless.

The Braille Controller, as it’s referred to in the patent, is very much like an ordinary Xbox One gamepad, except on the back there appears to be a sort of robotic insect sticking out of it. This is the Braille display, consisting of both a dot matrix that mechanically reproduces the bumps which players can run their fingers over, and a set of swappable paddles allowing for both input and output.

The six paddles correspond to the six dot positions on a Braille-coded character, and a user may use them to chord or input text that way, or to receive text communications without moving their fingers off the paddles. Of course the mechanisms also could be used to send haptic feedback of other types, like directional indicators or environmental effects like screen shake. I wouldn’t mind having something like this on my controller, in fact.

Naturally this means games will need (and increasingly are including) a metadata layer for this kind of conversion of visual cue to auditory one, and vice versa, among many other considerations for gamers with disabilities. It’s on everyone’s minds, but Microsoft and Xbox seem to be taking more concrete steps than the rest, so kudos to them for that. Hopefully their leadership in this space will help convince other developers and manufacturers to join up.

We’ll be sure to ask the Xbox team about their plans for this controller design and other accessibility improvements when we talk with them at E3 in June.

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12 Best Uses For Old Computer Keyboards

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Maybe you want to wear your love of keyboards on your sleeve, but earrings and charm bracelets are just a little too ostentatious for your taste. Enter the subtler and more stylish buttons and cufflinks. Not only is this a more discreet way of keeping your old keyboard close, but it’s also among the easiest projects we have for you.

You’ll only need a few supplies, at least one of which you already have at hand. There aren’t any scissors or saws, and you won’t be using any power tools. All you need is your old keyboard, an adhesive like epoxy, and the base of a cufflink or button, both of which you can find at your local craft store or online.

Before you get started, however, take a moment to inspect your keyboard. Consider the wide array of buttons, each with its own special function. Now choose your favorites. Those are the keys you want to carefully remove. If you’re making cufflinks, you’ll need at least two keys. If you’re making buttons, the sky’s the limit.

Now take out a flathead screwdriver — the only tool you’re going to need — and pop the keys you’ve chosen off of the keyboard frame. Once you’ve got them all liberated, generously apply adhesive to the back side of each key and jam the cufflink or button base right in there. Wait for it to cure and you’re ready to attach them to your favorite threads.

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28% Of Car Lovers Most Want To Own This Banned Vehicle

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In a SlashGear poll with 590 U.S. respondents, 27.97% said they would love to own Lamborghini Diablo Strosek. The Italian supercar is not street legal in the U.S. because it’s too fast. If pushed to the limit, the Lamborghini Diablo can exceed 200 mph — this made it the fastest car when it was released in 1990. But it was a German designer known as Vittorio Strosek who modified it and made it even more difficult for it to pass the FMVSS regulations. Because of the 25-year rule, you’re only allowed to import a Lamborghini Diablo that was produced between 1990 to 1997.

The second most popular option in the poll was the Porsche 959, which was picked by 25.25% of the respondents. Just like Lamborghini Diablo, Porsche 959 is super-fast but it doesn’t exceed 200 mph — the best it can do is 198 mph in the Sport variant. However, the real reason Porsche 959 was never sold in the U.S. is that the automaker didn’t want to have its very expensive cars crash tested by NHTSA. Despite the Porsche 959 quickly selling out after it was released, the manufacturer was making a loss selling the car — and if NHTSA crash tested a minimum of four cars, it would have lost more money.

Besides that, 19.83% of the participants said they would prefer Honda ATC and 16.95% wanted Nissan GT-R Skyline. The Smart Crossblade was the least popular option at 10%. 

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The Reason Why NYC Destroys Hundreds Of Dirt Bikes And ATVs Each Year

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In 2021, eight people were killed by dirt bikes or ATVs, and the New York Police Department, along with then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, went on a crusade to get rid of illegal vehicles, according to The City. By the end of the year, the city had seized and subsequently destroyed approximately 500 bikes. As many as 3,000 were ultimately crushed under the tracked wheels of a bulldozer in 2021 (via The City).

When new Mayor Eric Adams took office on January 1, 2022, he continued the fight. By June, they had seized over 2,000 bikes — almost 80% over the number they took by that time the previous year. And there’s no sign of letting up, with the police nabbing more than 250 on a single Sunday in August.

The dirt bikes and ATVs are not street legal to begin with, lacking several required features like turn signals, brake lights, and mirrors. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, any 1985 or newer motorcycle must be equipped with directional or turn signals that show amber to the front and red or amber to the rear. It must also have an adjustable rear view mirror, a red stop lamp on the back, and a headlamp on the front of the vehicle. None of these things are found on a vast majority of the illegal vehicles that, as Mayor Adams put it, are continuing to terrorize the city.

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