Microsoft has donated video game controllers and gaming equipment to 22 Department of Veterans Affairs facilities across the U.S. to support the department's new therapy program for former servicemembers, Nextgov reported Friday.
Microsoft incorporated design specifications such as larger buttons and foot pedals into the adaptive controllers to help veterans with limited mobility better maneuver video game actions. The move came ahead of VA's plans to establish an outpatient program in Washington, D.C that will be focused on rehabilitating disabled veterans through two-hour clinical sessions and competitive esports and gaming activities.
“It really is inspirational on what adaptive devices can do for our veterans“”whether it's the Xbox controller or adaptive skis“”it makes a difference in these veterans' lives,“ noted Lawrence Connell, chief of staff of the Veterans Health Administration.
According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the company is working to implement inclusive design and assistive technology into its products including Windows, Office and Xbox. VA is working with support groups as well as physical and occupational therapists to expand the effort to more former military personnel.