FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

orbiTouch General Questions

What is the orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard?
How does the orbiTouch type?
Who would, or why would I, want to type using the orbiTouch typing method?
What are the ergonomic benefits of the orbiTouch keyless keyboard?
What types of disabilities do people have that type with the orbiTouch?
What type of research has been done and is available on the orbiTouch?
Which group of people have had the greatest success with it and why?
How easy is the orbiTouch to use?
Is there a wireless orbiTouch version available?
How does the orbiTouch connect to my PC?
Does the orbiTouch work on the Mac?
What do I do when an error message pops up when I plug the orbiTouch into a Mac?
Does the orbiTouch come in different colors?
Can I change the character layout?
What products or technologies compete with the orbiTouch?
Isn’t voice recognition technology going to replace all keyboard input?

orbiTouch Comfort

How comfortable is it to type with the orbiTouch?
How easy are the domes to move?
Will the orbiTouch cause damage to other parts of the arm given that it eliminates finger motion and wrist motion?
Does the orbiTouch eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome?
Can a left hander mouse w/ the LEFT dome controlling cursor, RIGHT dome clicking?

orbiTouch Functionality

Does the orbiTouch do all of the things a regular keyboard does?
How are the orbiTouch letters arranged?
Do I have to memorize where the colors and letters are to type using the orbiTouch?
Does the orbiTouch come with software or other training aids to help me learn how to use it?
How do the domes move? How far?
How many “keys” does it have?
How do I move back and forth between keyboard and mouse mode?
How does the mouse work?
How do I set the mouse cursor speed and double click rates?
Does the mouse action have a double-click?
How do I control the mouse and clicking speed?
Do I need special software to make the orbiTouch work?
Is it possible to type special characters (e.g., Ö, Ä, Å) with the orbiTouch?
How do I use the function keys?
When using Windows, how do I press CRTL, ALT, DEL or other multi-key strokes?
Does the orbiTouch work with all versions of Windows?
Does the orbiTouch work with the Mac?
Does the orbiTouch work with Linux?
What are the minimum PC specifications I need to be able to use the orbiTouch?
Does the orbiTouch work on a tablet PC, Android tablet, or iPad?
Does it take up more space than a regular keyboard?
Does the orbiTouch fit into a keyboard tray that I have attached to my desk?
Can I play video games with the orbiTouch?

orbiTouch Performance

How difficult is it to learn to use the orbiTouch? What is the learning curve?
How many words per minute can be typed, on average, with the orbiTouch?
How long does it take to get up to an average typing speed of 30 words per minute with the orbiTouch?
What is the best way to learn to type with the orbiTouch?
Does the order in which the domes move matter?
How much force does it take to slide the domes?
Do the domes have to re-center after each character is typed?
What are some of the Windows or Mac system settings I can use to enhance or make my orbiTouch experience better? — word completion, standard keyboard settings, etc.

Trying or Purchasing the orbiTouch

How much is the orbiTouch and where can I buy one?
Where can I try out the orbiTouch?
Can I rent an orbiTouch? I need it only until my hands are better from an accident.
Who are your product resellers?
Do you offer an education or student discount?
What if I buy the orbiTouch and I don’t like it or it doesn’t work for me?
What is the orbiTouch product guarantee?
How can I try or buy an orbiTouch if I live outside of the United States?


orbiTouch General Questions


What is the orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard?

The orbiTouch is a patented computer keyboard and mouse that requires no finger or wrist motion to operate. It was developed for people who do not have the finger or hand dexterity to use a regular keyboard or mouse.


How does the orbiTouch type?

The two domes slide to type a character. Each dome slides in one of 8 directions (forward, backward, left, right, and into the 45 degree positions). Each dome has to slide into one of its eight positions to type a character. To type the letter ‘a’ for example, both domes would slide to the left (video | graphic)


Who is the orbiTouch designed for?

Anyone who wants to type more comfortably or has hand or finger issues that keep them from using a regular keyboard and mouse. It’s all about comfort and if you have an issue with your fingers or hands, it may be the best alternative for you to keep typing. The orbiTouch was specifically designed for people who have little or no use of their fingers or hands. It is used by people who have arm or hand prostheses, limited hand and finger use due to injury, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, spinal injury, burn, stroke, cerebral palsy and many other physical conditions. It is also being successfully used by people who are visually impaired, blind, have autism, or have traumatic brain injury.


What are the ergonomic benefits of the orbiTouch keyless keyboard?

The orbiTouch eliminates finger and wrist motion. People with repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, find using the orbiTouch much more comfortable than using a regular keyboard. The orbiTouch dome size and shape also helps keep your hands comfortable while using it. And finally, the force required to move the dome, and the distance it moves, has been researched to provide optimum comfort while maintaining optimal typing speed. The force required to move the domes can be changed at the factory to accommodate anyone’s special needs.


What types of disabilities do people have that type with the orbiTouch?

People who have arm or hand prostheses, limited hand and finger use due to injury, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, spinal injury, burn, stroke, cerebral palsy and many other physical conditions. It is also being successfully used by people who are visually impaired, blind, have autism, or have traumatic brain injury have all successfully used the orbiTouch.


What type of research has been done and is available on the orbiTouch?

A complete doctoral dissertation was completed on the orbiTouch (named the Keybowl when it was first conceived), several papers on dome force, dome motion, character layout around the rings, typing performance, learning curve and many more. Here is the library of the research papers and other related research papers.


Which group of people have had the greatest success with it and why?

All groups (arm or hand prostheses, limited hand and finger use due to injury, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, spinal injury, burn, stroke, cerebral palsy (and many other physical conditions), visually impaired, blind, have autism, or have traumatic brain injury) have had some level of success in using the orbiTouch. Some groups, like people who use prosthetics or have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, have performed best because the orbiTouch was designed specifically to address hand and finger issues. The group that has had the greatest success, however, is children with autism. They learn to use the orbiTouch very quickly and have had some of the fastest typing speeds ever recorded on the orbiTouch. One young lady, 22 yrs old at the time, in Washington, DC learned the complete orbiTouch alphabet in 10 hours and was typing 35 words per minute with it within three days of purchase.


How easy is the orbiTouch to use?

Once you understand how it types and you type a few characters with it (which takes literally less than 1 minute), it is very easy to use. The domes simply slide to type the characters and for mouse use.


Is there a wireless orbiTouch version available?

It will be available May 2014.


How does the orbiTouch connect to my PC?

Two ways for wired version — either through its PS2 connectors or through the USB cable that is included with the orbiTouch. For the wireless version, you simply plug in a USB wireless receiver.


Does the orbiTouch work on the Mac?

Yes. The training software was written for PC and will only work on your Mac if you have Apple Boot Camp (https://www.apple.com/support/bootcamp/) software installed. There are other programs that allow you to use PC software on your Mac as well – Parallels and VMware are two well-supported software packages (http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/ and http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion). We are working on making all of our software usable directly from the Internet so you won’t need to worry about what operating system you are using. Please check our website for launch announcements.


What do I do when an error message pops up when I plug the orbiTouch into a Mac?

Rarely does the message “This keyboard is not recognized” come up. If that happens, simply click the accept button. Your orbiTouch will function normally.


Does the orbiTouch come in different colors?

Yes, black and white and wired or wireless.


Can I change the character layout?

Yes, through your computer’s control panel. The orbiTouch sends the same typing commands as any other keyboard and mouse connected to your computer. As such, anything you can change using a regular keyboard or mouse on your PC, you can change with using the orbiTouch. These include things like key repeat rate, mouse cursor speed, keyboard layout (changing the alphabet), etc.


What products or technologies compete with the orbiTouch?

We have not identified a direct competitor as many other ergonomic and regular keyboards still require finger and wrist motion when the orbiTouch does not, but there a number of technologies that people ask about. These include voice recognition software, on-screen keyboards, touch surfaces, etc. (videos | graphic | other information).


Isn’t voice recognition technology going to replace all keyboard input?

No. And here is why — voice technology is a great technology for getting ideas down quickly. It is not, however, very good when you have editing to do. When was the last time you wrote something and didn’t have to go back and edit it? Also, like human to human speech, it is not accurate enough to eliminate editing. It’s best to use voice for simple notes and commands for your computer but still have a keyboard and mouse for your editing. The two together can be a very good solution for entering information quickly and being able to edit it efficiently. Vocal cord stress as well as many other physical aspects of voice input are being investigated. Generally speaking (no pun intended), voice input is good at getting information into a word processing program or for general menu commands. Where voice input falls short is in the area of editing, programming, and accuracy.


orbiTouch Comfort


How comfortable is it to type with the orbiTouch?

You really have to try it for yourself to answer this question. The majority (over 90%) find it very comfortable to use. That is because we extensively researched it for years before bringing it to the market.


How easy are the domes to move?

Easy. They are guided to their sliding positions and they require 7 newtons of force, that’s a little higher than the force required to press a key on a regular keyboard and 68% lower than the requirements set by the US Federal Government’s Section 508 accessibility regulations.


Will the orbiTouch cause damage to other parts of the arm given that it eliminates finger motion and wrist motion?

Extensive research has lead to the design of the orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard. Each orbiTouch dome moves 7 millimeters from their center position. This distance is about the same that most typists move their hands in typing on a regular keyboard. As such, the biomechanical requirements in the upper arm in using a regular QWERTY keyboard are similar to those when typing with the orbiTouch.


Does the orbiTouch prevent or eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome?

While we are still collecting data on whether the orbiTouch completely eliminates carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), our research data does indicate that it can help prevent or reduce the repetitive motions that cause CTS. The unique design of the orbiTouch keyless keyboard eliminates the finger and wrist motions that most often contribute to and aggravate CTS symptoms.


Can a left hander mouse w/ the LEFT dome controlling cursor, RIGHT dome clicking?

This would require development of a customized unit. If you would like to discuss this further, please send us an e-mail to: support@orbitouch.com


orbiTouch Functionality


Does the orbiTouch do all of the things a regular keyboard does?

Yes, and then some. The orbiTouch actually has a 128 character/function capability (8 positions on the left dome x 8 positions on the right dome x 2 movements on the left dome). There is also a built in mouse. Simply slide the left dome down twice to enter mouse mode; the right dome is used to move the cursor, the left dome to perform left and right clicks.


How are the orbiTouch letters arranged?

Alphabetically around the right dome. Each character’s color on the right dome is around the left dome.


Do I have to memorize where the colors and letters are to type using the orbiTouch?

No, the characters are displayed right on the orbiTouch. You simply match the color on the left dome to character’s color on the right dome to type.


Does the orbiTouch come with software or other training aids to help me learn how to use it?

Yes. The orbiTouch comes with software to help you use it quickly and to become proficient in using it in a short amount of time. Using the software, you’ll be using your orbiTouch in no time and will tying proficiently with it in 10 hours or less


How do the domes move? How far?

They slide into 8 positions. They move 7 mm which is about the thickness of a pencil.


How many “keys” does it have?

128. That is at least as many as a standard keyboard.


How do I switch back and forth between keyboard and mouse mode?

Simply slide the left dome down twice.


How does the mouse work?

Mouse use is very easy. First, slide the left dome down twice to enter “Mouse Mode.” Once in mouse mode, the right dome controls cursor movement, and the left dome does the mouse “clicks.” The “clicks” are actually performed by sliding the left dome to the left for “left click,” right for “right click”.


How do I set the mouse cursor speed and double click rates?

You set both just like you would using any other keyboard or mouse – open up your system preferences, click on your keyboard or mouse settings to adjust them; you can set both rate and click speeds to your level of comfort.


Does the mouse action have a double-click?

Yes. While you’re in mouse mode, sliding the left dome once in the left direction produces a “single click.” Sliding this dome twice in the left direction produces a “double click.”


How do I control the mouse and clicking speed?

Through your operating system’s control panel. See your Windows or Mac help menu for details on how to do this.


Do I need special software to make the orbiTouch work?

No. There is no special software required to be installed to use the orbiTouch. Simply plug it in using the PS2 connectors or USB cable (included with your orbiTouch).


Is it possible to type special characters (e.g., Ö, Ä, Å) with the orbiTouch?

The current model of the orbiTouch is designed to generate all of the letters, numbers, special characters, and control keys found on a traditional US-English keyboard. The slide guide illustrates the characters generated by specific dome movements when the orbiTouch is used with Windows in US-English mode. In some cases, use with Windows set for other language implementations is possible with only a change in the dome-movement-character correspondence. For some languages, additional characters will need to be defined. Prior to announcing general availability in any country, we will have tested the requirements of the predominant languages used in the country. In general, if you can produce the characters used by your language with a US-English traditional keyboard, then you will be able to do so with the current orbiTouch by re-labeling your slide guide.


How do I use the function keys?

Using a function key is identical to typing any other character — they are typed through the positioning of the two domes. Refer to the slide guide for the motions required for each function key.


When using Windows, how do I press CRTL, ALT, DEL or other multi-key strokes?

You can do this in one of two ways. You could type the character sequence CTRL-ALT-DEL-ALT-CTRL. This turns on CTRL and ALT modes, puts in the DEL character, and then turns off CTRL and ALT modes.
Or, you can type the orbiTouch’s special “CTRL ALT DEL” character — this single character is shown on the Slide Guide.


Does the orbiTouch work with all versions of Windows?

The orbiTouch has been tested extensively in all versions of Microsoft Windows and works well with them all.


Does the orbiTouch work with the Mac?

Yes. You must use the USB cable that comes with the orbiTouch because the Mac does not have, nor support the PS2 connectors.


Does the orbiTouch work with Linux?

While it has not been extensively tested by us with computers running Linux, it does work with the tests we have run. The orbiTouch should work in any environment that supports a standard PC keyboard and mouse.


What are the minimum PC specifications I need to be able to use the orbiTouch?

There are no minimums. If your PC works with a regular keyboard, it should work with the orbiTouch.


Does the orbiTouch work on a tablet PC, Android tablet, or iPad?

Yes, you may need to get a USB cable depending on the type of tablet you have. Please email support@orbiTouch.com with specific questions. We are happy to help you find the right cable.


Does it take up more space than a regular keyboard?

The orbiTouch is approximately the same size as a traditional keyboard but the domes make it about 1.5 inches taller than a standard keyboard.


Does the orbiTouch fit into a keyboard tray that I have attached to my desk?

It should. The only issue that we sometimes see is with retractable keyboard trays. The orbiTouch is taller than a regular keyboard and sometimes does not fit in retractable trays that slide under your desk.


Can I play video games with the orbiTouch?

Yes. Because the orbiTouch performs all of the functions of a keyboard and mouse, it can be used to play games.


orbiTouch Performance


How easy is it to learn to use the orbiTouch? What is the learning curve?

It is very easy to use. The basic concepts are mastered in minutes. Most typists are able to type proficiently after using the orbiTouch keyless keyboard about 3 1/2 hours–45 minutes practice a day for 5 days.


How many words per minute can be typed, on average, with the orbiTouch?

Average typing speeds are usually in the range of 30 to 40 words per minute — about the average for a regular keyboard.


How long does it take to get up to an average typing speed of 30 words per minute with the orbiTouch?

Somewhere around 10 to 15 hours. This of course, depends on how often you practice, your physical abilities, and whether or not you use our training software (included with the orbiTouch).


What is the best way to learn to type with the orbiTouch?

By using the typing software that comes with the orbiTouch. The software takes you through a series of typing lessons to help you learn and get to your maximum typing speed quickly.


Does the order in which the domes move matter?

Domes can be moved in either order (right hand first or left hand first) or simultaneously. It’s the position of the domes in their respective 8 positions that types the character. The domes do not have to be re-centered to type subsequent characters. Holding the left dome in one of its positions allows the typist to type 8 characters using the right dome. If one or more of the characters you wish to type are in that left hand position, you can hold the dome there to type the characters.


How much force does it take to slide the domes?

7 N of force. In english, that’s a little higher than the force required to press a key on a regular keyboard and 68% lower than the requirements set by the US Federal Government’s Section 508 accessibility regulations.


Do the domes have to re-center after each character is typed?

No. Only one dome needs to be re-centered to type. So, for example, if you moved and help the left dome in its red color position, you can move the right dome to any of the red characters, re-centering the right dome after each character is typed.


What are some of the Windows or Mac system settings I can use to enhance or make my orbiTouch experience better?

Word completion, standard keyboard settings like key repeat, etc. These features are free and are already installed on your computer if you are using more recent versions of your operating system.

Here are the main ones:
Sticky keys: This feature was designed for people who have difficulty holding down more than one key at a time i.e. if you can only use one hand to type. Once this function is activated pressing one key only can activate the SHIFT, CTRL, ALT, or Windows logo keys.

Filter keys: This function can help you if you have difficulty controlling the movements of your hands and fingers. It adjusts the keyboard response so that inadvertently repeated keystrokes are ignored. If you activate it, brief or repeated keystrokes will not be taken into consideration. You can also slow the rate at which a key repeats when you hold it down.

Toggle keys: When this feature is turned on, you will hear tones when pressing on the locking keys (CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, and SCROLL LOCK). A high sound is played when the keys are switched on and a low sound is played when they are switched off. This feature is helpful to someone with visual impairments.

An on-screen keyboard is also available: This may be helpful for you if typing on a regular keyboard is too difficult. It is a virtual keyboard displayed on the computer screen. It allows you to type by using a pointing device.

A magnifier: This can be used if you have difficulty reading small characters because of decreased vision. A second assistive device for people with low vision is a narrator which can read out load what is displayed on the computer screen. It is designed to work with many programs including: Notepad, WordPad, Control Panel programs, Internet Explorer, the Windows desktop, and some parts of Windows Setup.


Trying or Purchasing the orbiTouch


How much is the orbiTouch and where can I buy one?

The wired version is $399; the wireless version is $449. You can buy and orbiTouch (wired or wireless) in black or white. You can buy an orbiTouch through the orbiTouch website (www.orbitouch.com), or through any of our resellers (reseller list link).


Where can I try out the orbiTouch?

We would be happy to send you one to try. Simply fill out this form.


Can I rent an orbiTouch?

I need it only until my hands are better from an accident. Yes, we’d be happy to rent an orbiTouch to you. You can rent an orbiTouch at: www.orbitouch.com/rentanorbitouch


Who are your product resellers and what do they do?

We have several in the United States and a number around the rest of the world. Most of our product resellers sell ergonomic product related equipment, like desks, chairs, keyboard trays, etc. A few of our product resellers sell products to schools, medical patients, and hospitals. They are good to contact for a consultation on comprehensive solutions to your specific needs.


Do you offer an education or student discount?

Yes, for qualified students, we offer a 20% discount. To learn more about our student discount program, please visit: www.orbitouch.com/studentprograms


What if I buy the orbiTouch and I don’t like it or it doesn’t work for me?

Simply return it for a full refund. We’ll give you 6 months to determine whether or not the orbiTouch is right for you. For more information, please visit: www.orbiTouch.com/returnpolicy


What is the orbiTouch product guarantee?

If you are the original owner and it breaks, we will send you a new one. Forever.


How can I try or buy an orbiTouch if I live outside of the United States?

Depending on where you live, we have a few options: We’ll send you one! Go to our tryout page.