Microsoft donates Xbox Adaptive Controllers to children at ALYN Hospital

The adaptive controller is designed to make video games accessible to those with disabilities, and helps incorporate video games as a rehabilitation tool.

Microsoft's Yaron Galinsky alongside ALYN's Dr. Maurit Beeri and Arie Yekel-Melamed are seen helping a patient play 'Forza Horizon 4' on the Xbox One using an Xbox Adaptive Controller. (photo credit: ALYN HOSPITAL)
Microsoft's Yaron Galinsky alongside ALYN's Dr. Maurit Beeri and Arie Yekel-Melamed are seen helping a patient play 'Forza Horizon 4' on the Xbox One using an Xbox Adaptive Controller.
(photo credit: ALYN HOSPITAL)
Microsoft Israel R&D made a donation to the ALYN Orthopedic Hospital and Rehabilitation Center of special Xbox video game consoles designed to be accessible for the hospital's patients regardless of their disabilities.
In response to a request from the hospital to help patients receiving treatment, Microsoft Israel R&D sent over six packages, each one containing an Xbox One gaming console, a laptop, Microsoft Office, a subscription for Xbox gaming packages, a variety of games and the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
Launched in 2018 by Microsoft for PC and the Xbox One, the adaptive controller was designed to make video games accessible to those with disabilities, allowing them to still play games with a specialized controller. The controller was refined over development period lasting several years, and was made in collaborations with nonprofits and accessory manufacturers that focus on gaming accessibility.
The controller itself is about a foot long with two large buttons, as well as the standard directional pad, menu button and Xbox home button that are standard on normal Xbox One controllers. However, it also comes with USB ports and jacks that allow for more input devices on which to map certain essential functions that are found on a normal controller.
While the controller was made by Microsoft, it is by no means exclusive to Xbox or PC. Speaking to tech news outlet VentureBeat, Xbox vice president Phil Spencer explained that the controller was made to be used with any gaming platform, and as such, is compatible with many third party peripherals that often help with accessibility.
After launching, the controller was widely praised, with Time ranking it among 2018's best inventions.
After getting in touch with Microsoft Israel R&D, Microsoft Accessories general manager Yaron Galitzky, who is responsible for developing the adaptive controller, arrived at the hospital with the six packages.
He also met with ALYN Hospital director-general Dr. Maurit Beeri and the hospital's innovation initiative manager Arie Yekel-Melamed, and went from bed to bed to install each system individually, as well as adapt the controllers to suit each patient's needs.
The move was part of the hospital's ongoing initiative to promote new innovations in accessible technology for children living with a wide range of disabilities. It also follows a trend of using video games as a means of rehabilitation, with previous studies having shown its effectiveness in a variety of cases, such as stroke rehabilitation and cerebral palsy. This can be especially effective with children, as it could encourage them to continue with rehabilitation.
Speaking about the event's importance, Yekel-Melamed said in a statement that “ALYN Hospital, together with technological entities, has led the development of many products that improve rehabilitation, quality of life, and daily inclusion for children with disabilities.
“We thank Microsoft Israel R&D, both for their important contribution to ALYN’s children and for being a role model for startups by implementing inclusive design to make it possible for products to be used by people with disabilities.”
“The use of gaming in rehabilitation is more and more common, incorporating physical components relating to coordination and hand function, as well as mental and social aspects – the moment a child plays, they are no different from anyone else. When they play and enjoy themselves, they build the confidence that they can do other things,” Galitzky explained.
“We continue to support the integration of the Xbox Adaptive Controller and bring it to more and more gamers, and our work with ALYN Hospital over the last three years is a great example of what we can achieve. In addition, we are using an inclusive design approach and are integrating more and more accessibility features and capabilities in every product that we develop... Our partnership with ALYN hospital allows us to bring happiness, joy and quality of life to everyone.”