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A chat with Bryce Johnson from the Microsoft Inclusive Tech Lab

Since its launch in 2017, the Microsoft Inclusive Tech Lab has been on a mission to create a space where individuals with disabilities can seamlessly navigate modern life, education, productivity, and gaming without any hindrances. With meticulous design and innovative solutions, the lab ensures that everyone’s needs are met, whether it’s adjusting lighting and sound, providing wheelchair accessibility, or integrating assistive technologies like the Xbox Adaptive Controller and sensory spaces. This commitment to inclusivity runs deep, empowering individuals with disabilities to thrive in every aspect of life, honoring their unique needs and preferences.

In our conversation with Bryce Johnson, co-inventor of the Xbox Adaptive Controller and a key player in the adaptive mouse team, we delved into the remarkable impact of his work on countless lives, especially those with disabilities. The pride was palpable when we noticed the Clevy Keyboard being used in the lab’s videos, prompting us to learn more about it. Bryce’s introduction to the Clevy Keyboard came through observing someone with cerebral palsy using it.  

Lowercase keyboard font

Learning keyboards can be difficult, most keyboards have uppercase letters and that can be confusing for a child.  

Microsoft Inclusive Tech Lab Bryce Johnson Clevy Keyboard

“when I press an uppercase letter and a lowercase letter appears unless I hold shift, that’s weird!”

Bryce says: “Normalizing lowercase keyboards for children is really useful. That’s part of the reason why we got the Clevy, also while it is bright and colorful the color is still subtle. Also, it is cool and rare that there is hardware switch to control the keyrepeat functionality. Furthermore, we like the obvious fact that it has bigger keys. 

 

The Clevy is going to stay in our lab! You’re keyboard is premium.”

Challenges

“I get a lot of parents of kids with cerebral palsy, that say I need a one handed keyboard, I say no you don’t! But my kids can only use one hand! I don’t want your kid to get hooked to a one handed keyboard, that in 3 years when that company goes out of business you’re trying to find this keyboard on ebay. I don’t want to do that to you, because I’ve seen it so many times!” Bryce says.

 

For those curious about the Inclusive Tech Lab’s work, you can explore more on their website and YouTube channel: 

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