Have We Found the Holy Grail of Accessibility?

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Ever since the first console was launched years ago disabled gamers have been eagerly awaiting the day when all of our favorite peripherals that make the PC so accessible would be usable to do the same on our Xbox or PlayStation.

That day is drawing near.

XIM-EdgeMeet XIM Edge, a nifty little piece of technology that allows you to use your keyboard and mouse to control an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. But that's not all this thing does.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the owner and creator of the XIM series. “Accessibility was built into the XIM from its inception,” said OBsIV, creator of XIM. “I have a passion for the disabled community and it was important to me that we support disabled gamers.”

Actually you can check the owner’s manual, accessibility is written right in the description.

What makes this piece of technology such an accessibility champion?

Simple. XIM Edge allows your PC to plug into the device and control your Xbox or PS3 directly from your computer. Not only that, but the SDK called XIM Bridge works with various community written programs such as XIM Commander and XIM Emulator to capture any input given to your computer directly to your console.

That means that your specialty keyboard, mouse, Adroit, head mouse, TrackIR, Smart NAV, X-Keys, Ergodex and any other device that your computer recognizes will now work on your Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The setup is relatively easy, although you will need to spend some money. You will need a wired Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 controller, a Belkin USB Easy Transfer Cable, and of course, your XIM Edge.

Take the transfer cable and plug it from your PC into your XIM. Plug the controller into the XIM and plug the XIM into your console. Load up either Commander or Emulator and bam, accessibility.

XIM allows you to remap any button to any switch. Need more versatility? Plug Adroit or X-Keys into your PC to gain more switches. You can control the analog sticks with your mouse, joysticks, TrackIR, Smart NAV or whatever device you normally use. Voice-recognition software, such as VAC, will work the same as it does for PC games as well.

Now, by default your mouse is captured and on-screen keyboards are rendered useless. XIM Commander has some settings that allow you to use the mouse while still controlling the XIM, but more testing needs to be done to verify which on-screen keyboards will work.

We have had XIM in the AbleGamers’ testing lab for a few weeks and have so far found comfort on screen keyboard works relatively well. In addition, most USB devices we could find work flawlessly with XIM and we see no reason any USB device shouldn’t work. Unfortunately, devices such as switches that are 3.5mm don't have any way to directly put into XIM, but that's where Adroit or X-Keys comes into play.

We are also working closely with the creator of XIM and he has offered his full support to AbleGamers and our readers to further enable more individuals with disabilities in the future.

In the meantime, if you ever dreamed of controlling your console via your computer and all the fancy gadgets we can use with the PC… XIM Edge just might be the ticket.

What do you think? Is XIM the Holy Grail of accessibility? 

About the Author
Steve Spohn
Author: Steve Spohn
Steve Spohn is the Editor-in-Chief of AbleGamers & Outreach Chair for the Foundation. He is an expert in gaming with disabilities and assistive technologies and can be seen on MSNBC, CNN, G4 and more.

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  • i ordered a used ps3 and had my interface built. i hope it works.

  • In reply to: georgli

    I hope it works for you.:)

  • In reply to: JM

    Doesn't look good.

  • This is truly excellent news.

    I've spread the word on this on Steam forums, and one point of concern which someone raised was that they believe Ocean Marketing are handling the promotion? Could anyone confirm or deny this, please?

  • If it's the case what consequences would that have?

  • In reply to: georgli

    Ocean Marketing was a market strategy & public relations firm that totally self-destructed at the end of 2011. They were handling marketing and PR for the Avenger controller, and after a very inflammatory e-mail chain (Involving a disabled customer, the guy that ran Ocean Marketing, and Mike/Gabe from Penny Arcade) came into public view, they became the laughing stock of the internet and lost pretty much every respectable client they had. The story is actually pretty spectacular in its ridiculousness, so I encourage anyone who isn't familiar with it to check it out.

    Now, I can't seem to find any indication that they actually represent XIM Technologies, and if they ever did, I'm sure XIM would have switched representation by now. So, the short answer to "what consequences would that have?" is none. But realistically, I would assume that the person that mentioned it on the Steam forums just saw *adaptive controller* and assumed it was the same as the Avenger.

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by The3
  • In reply to: The3

    I just read about that The3. That was totally ridiculous and unprofessional.

  • In reply to: The3

    Well, I found the conversation somewhere on the net. Actually it was hilarious how the man went over the top. Too bad he thought the web would be a place that forgives anything. Lesson learned I'd say.

  • It's a fun read though, especially when he starts apologizing - not for his conduct, but because he picked a fight with someone who he didn't know could so thoroughly embarrass him.

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  • Great to raise awareness on this hope. I'm thinking it's not yet the holy grail of controller accessibility, but it's a long way on the right path for sure. I'm really interested also in the Cronus device. Reading the Engadget comments from a month ago or so, makes this sound very promising too. Maybe a little further along than XIM 3 if the hype is to be believed. Have you tried this yet?

    Would love to see a way to get latching, binding, remapping, quick-access combinations (available from a quick-cycling menu / scan-and-select system for reducing the controls needed to play) on console games. Would love to see a way to merge the pointer from a PC onto a Console image GENLOCK style - to maybe open up eye-gaze control using a PC/Console hybrid system. Looking at HDMI mixers, the cost might be a bit frightening to do that in this way.

    Would love to see a video demo of this in action, Steve, especially seeing head-tracker control over a console game, and a bit more on how well it works with different games.

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