Microsoft Patents Built-In Braille Display For Xbox Controllers

Bringing new meaning to the 'everybody plays' slogan.
The Xbox Adaptive controller.
The Xbox Adaptive controller. Microsoft

“When everybody plays, we all win.” This is the heart-touching slogan of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. It looks like Microsoft is taking this ‘everybody’ seriously with their newest patent: an Xbox controller with a built-in braille display.

After the creation of the Xbox Adaptive Controller last year and Microsoft's partnership with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs last month, it was revealed that Microsoft’s next step just might be to help visually impaired people. Microsoft reportedly passed a patent on October last year entitled ‘Haptic Braille Output for a Game Controller’ and it was only published by WIPO on May 2.

The controller, as it was described in the patent, looks like your ordinary Xbox One controller. The difference can be found in the back, where a total of six paddles are placed that allow a visually impaired user to read Braille. This can possibly allow the owner of the controller to input text.

“While a conventional game controller is geared to sighted players, the disclosed controller configurations include various adaptations that provide alternative input and outputs to facilitate game play by sight-impaired or blind users, as well as other users knowledgeable of Braille," Microsoft explained in the abstract of their patent. "A number of paddles may be arranged on a game controller housing so that a player may engage selected ones of the paddles to enable encoding braille characters using the paddles. This input may be used to control a game, enter text into a chat session or take any other action desired. The converse may also occur, where a combination of the paddles may provide haptic feedback detectable by a user holding a game controller so that the paddles encode braille output (or other data), allowing a user to receive output simply by contact with the paddles.”

Microsoft has yet to give an official statement about the aforementioned patent. However, we’ll be looking forward to further announcements. This is such a big step in the gaming industry. Involving everyone is the spirit of games, after all. Are you also looking forward to this new gamepad? Do you know anyone who will have fun using it? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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