All posts tagged OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard

Wireless orbiTouch Now Available

wireless orbiTouch keyboard

orbiTouch Wireless is available in white (not shown).


We are excited to announce the availability of the Wireless orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard

OrbiTouch Wireless resembles it’s predecessor, the original orbiTouch, on all levels except one–we’ve eliminated the cord. Through customer feedback, we’ve been able to create an orbiTouch that is wireless, efficient, and powerful. The orbiTouch Wireless is battery powered and works with a wireless USB receiver. If you would like to know more about orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard, you are invited to read Testimonials, Research and Reviews.

Features and benefits of orbiTouch Wireless:

Increased flexibility and mobility

Users are no longer confined to cord length. The new orbiTouch wireless can be conveniently mounted onto a wheelchair.

Increased comfort

Not only does orbiTouch’s unique design take the pain out of typing, but the user can now recline in their favorite chair and use a computer comfortably from anywhere in the room.

Works with a variety of special needs

OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard has a broad range of applications, such as hand and finger injury, arthritis, carpal tunnel, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy, and autism.

The team at orbiTouch would love to connect with you. To order your Wireless orbiTouch today, please visit our Products page. If you would like to get in touch, please contact us via the form below or call today at 1.888.385.1936.


Using OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard and other AT together: A User’s Guide

Last week, orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard visited Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) and the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATiA) conference as well.These conferences were successful on two fronts: One, it is always great to connect with industry experts, and two, experience first hand the new adaptive technology improving the quality of life for persons with special needs.

As we made the rounds talking to several vendors and advocates, a popular question emerged from our conversations: Is orbiTouch a direct competitor with any other forms of assistive technology? Generally, the answer is no.

OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard specializes as an input system which uses domes instead of keys to type and mouse. Since orbiTouch’s design is vastly different from most keyboards, it doesn’t directly compete with or replace other assistive tech methods. It’s quite the opposite in fact–orbiTouch can be used to enhance them. Here’s a couple of examples of adaptive technology and where orbiTouch fits in.

iPad and Touch Screens

Steve Jobs had a stroke of his ever-flowing genius when he invented the iPad. Not only is iPad one of the best selling gadgets on the market today, but its intuitive design has made impressive strides to help children and adults with special needs.

The iPad, and touch screen technology in general, is ideal for individuals with disabilities because it takes no training to gain proficiency. Tap, slide, and scroll your way to productivity. It’s as easy as playing Angry Birds (the lower levels at least).

OrbiTouch can be used in conjunction with tablets easily. Since orbiTouch uses a standard USB connection, computers and tablets understand it as a normal keyboard. Just plug and play.

One of the best things about tablets is their lighter weight and capability to be mobile. If you wanted to mount an iPad onto a wheelchair, for instance, you could also mount a wireless orbiTouch so the user could comfortably rest their hands while they type and mouse. The benefit of this is that the screen can be placed at the user’s eye level so they wouldn’t have to look down constantly or reach to touch the iPad.

Obviously, iPad is one of the most popular and ubiquitous devices today loved both by able-bodied and special needs individuals, and its applications are many, both for entertainment and productivity.

Voice recognition

Voice recognition or speech to text is great hands-free way to operate a computer. Software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, works by converting spoken words into text. It’s cutting edge technology that has a lot of potential, and one day may eliminate the need for input devices entirely.

One aspect that can be challenging for voice recognition users, however, is the ability to edit the text the speech has converted. With orbiTouch, the user can go back through the document and edit the text as needed precisely where work needs to be done. Also, you could alternate between voice recognition software and orbiTouch depending on the noise level of your environment, using orbiTouch in quiet setting where speaking would inconvenience others, or the opposite, a loud environment that could interfere with the software’s ability to interpret speech.

Word prediction software

Word prediction or completion software, such as Prototype, can improve your typing speed with orbiTouch tremendously. Here’s how word prediction software works: As the user types, the software makes word suggestions without the user having to enter all of the characters.

This is great to use in conjunction with orbiTouch, particularly for a new user who is getting acquainted with the product. The average speed for a proficient orbiTouch user is about 38 words per minute, which isn’t bad, but the orbiTouch wasn’t really built for speed. It was built for comfort. Word prediction software can fill in the gaps if the user desires to type faster.

Conclusion

If there’s anything I learned from FETC and ATiA conferences, it’s this: There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to assistive technology. Everyone has to determine a plan that will work for them whether it is a single device or a combination. For more information on orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard, find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/orbitouch

Committed to Access: HP innovation lowers barriers to technology use

 Accessibility is a vital concern for all levels of government as technology becomes a fundamental tool for streamlining internal operations and delivering services to citizens.

When a Canadian assistive technology company developed a revolutionary computerized travel guide for the blind, it chose HP’s versatile iPAQ Pocket PC handheld as the platform for its solution.

VisuAide’s Trekker GPS-based system combines GPS information, talking digital maps and talking menus to give users real time information about their location and surroundings. Operating on an HP iPAQ, the compact Trekker system is worn over the user’s shoulder, and announces street names, intersections, stores, restaurants and other attractions as the user approaches them.

Montreal-based VisuAide is one of many assistive technology providers partnering with HP through the company’s Accessibility Program Office and the HP Developer & Solution Partner Program (DSPP). The program helps independent software vendors, developers and system integrators create unique accessibility solutions based on HP platforms and operating systems.

“We’re committed to ensuring that HP’s products, programs, services and information are accessible to people with disabilities,” said Michael Takemura, director of the company’s Accessibility Program Office. “That’s consistent with our company’s DNA, creating products that improve the lives of our customers and allow them to use information technology in a very useful way.”

The DSPP is part of HP’s global effort to connect people with technology. And it results in solutions that dramatically lower barriers to the use of high-tech tools and information.

For instance, HP worked with another accessibility partner, Keybowl Inc., to make an innovative keyless key­board completely interoperable with HP products without special programs or drivers.

Keybowl developed the orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard to support users with limited or no motion in their fingers and victims of carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive stress injury. Linked to an HP desktop or notebook, the product allows citizens who can’t use traditional keyboards to access computer technology at home and in the workplace.

The orbiTouch features a pair of ergonomically sculpted  domes that move to enable “typing” of characters with the same precision as pressing a key. Each dome can be positioned in the eight major directions of the compass, providing the ability to type 128 characters.

For the article in its entirety written by Hewlett-Packard, please visit http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/abouthp/accessibility/5982-5752enaccessible.pdf

OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard: Breaking Barriers

The following is an excerpt from an guest blog post featured on the special education technology blog Teaching All Students that follows the orbiTouch experience of a young man and his mother. A big thanks to Patrick Black, blog creator, for featuring us!

Devin Spangler was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was 7 years old. When you sit down with Devin, now 13, it is evident he is an articulate and bright young man. In fact, he speaks more clearly and cogently than many adults. However, according to his mother Allie, self-expression hasn’t always been easy. 

Only years earlier, completing school work was a daily battle. Devin became increasingly reluctant to handwrite school assignments because his hands would fatigue quickly. Standard keyboards didn’t go over much better–their QWERTY layout seemingly had no order, something individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder crave. OrbiTouch helped him break through communication barriers. This is Allie and Devin Spangler’s orbiTouch story. 

Questions For Devin:

Which features about orbiTouch did you like best? For example, alphabetical order, corresponding colors with characters, comfortable design, etc.?

Well, personally my favorites, or my top three favorites, are alphabetical order, comfortable design, and I love the mouse. The fact that it has a mouse in it. It just makes it less cluttered. You have a desk and an orbiTouch. It makes it easier to have it all there.

Did using orbiTouch make typing more comfortable?

I think using the orbiTouch actually led me into typing more. Now, I’m writing five paragraph essays and the whole nine yards.

Before orbiTouch, when you would sit down at a computer, what kind of feelings did you experience? After using orbiTouch?

Well, before the orbiTouch, I would experience the feeling of discomfort, unhappiness. It was very tedious, like math. After the orbiTouch, it was better. I felt a little more comfortable approaching a keyboard, because I knew how it really worked, the basics of typing. The keyless keyboard led me into typing.

Questions For Allie: 

Did you see Devin change the way he viewed computer use after using orbiTouch? What kind of emotions, as a parent, did you experience?

Absolutely, I did. I immediately saw that spark and that love of learning come back. Because we were getting to the point where he was losing that zest for learning because it was becoming so tedious, having to sit there and type on a keyboard. Physically writing is very difficult for him. It still is til this day.

He has low muscle tone in his fingers so when he writes, everything gets tired. And it’s painful. It gets up all the way up into his shoulders. So we had to find an alternative. His first grade teacher was fantastic. She was open to allowing him to use different forms of technology in the classroom.

For the entirety of this article, please visit http://teachingall.blogspot.com/2011/12/guest-post-orbitouch-keyless-keyboard.html

OrbiTouch: Show your gratitude

 For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends. 

 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson is a simple one, but it speaks to the heart of gratitude. The impending Thanksgiving holiday has many of us thinking about what we are thankful for. Some might think the “What are you thankful for?” question is silly or cliche, but that is only until one realizes how tenuous life is.

The line between life and death can be so thin. Over the past year, orbiTouch has made many new friends, among them wounded veterans. These brave individuals know the fragility of life only too well. As they fought for their country, many lost dear friends who sacrificed their lives for freedom. All it takes is one perilous step in the wrong direction to detonate an IED or catch a stray bullet. The suddenness at which a friend can be taken from us is shocking, terrifying, and irrevocable.

It is because life can be so fleeting that we must appreciate what we have here and now. Gratitude must not only be expressed in our hearts, but out loud. Life is unpredictable. Tell the people you love how much they mean to you, because everything could change tomorrow.

Be thankful for the life we live, for every breath we take, and the fact that the sun will rise each morning, giving us the opportunity to express our many gifts that have been given to us.

For those with disabilities, a new entrepreneurial spirit

The following excerpt is from an Orlando Sentinel article written by Kate Santich published on November 12, 2011. The article explores initiatives by various Central Florida organizations to promote entrepreneurism among persons with special needs.

Toward that end, the Department of Veterans Affairs also is pushing an agenda of self-employment for its disabled veterans. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a three-year, $100,000 grant to Maitland-based Blue Orb Inc., parent company of the keyless-computer-keyboard maker orbiTouch. The device allows those without fine-motor dexterity in their hands to easily navigate a desktop computer.

Partnering with the VA, orbiTouch is enlisting veterans and others with disabilities to foster their entry into the world of entrepreneurship.

For the entirety of this article, please continue reading at Orlando Sentinel website.

Blue Orb awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Multi-year award will help provide online entrepreneurial opportunities to persons with disabilities.

MAITLAND, FLORIDA–Blue Orb, Inc., parent company of the assistive technology keyboard orbiTouch, was awarded a three year Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation in partnership with Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce. This grant focuses on providing persons with disabilities an opportunity to independently develop their own ideas as entrepreneurs. Service-disabled veterans also fall into the scope of this project.

The goal of the most recent NSF grant is to develop an online environment that allows persons with disabilities to participate more fully in the process of becoming and being an entrepreneur.

In addition to providing individuals with disabilities a tool set to improve and enhance entrepreneurship among them, the proposed collaborative environment will be a very powerful research tool to test hypotheses about the cognitive, affective, and inter-personal constructs and mechanisms involved in entrepreneurship and among persons with disabilities.

This is the second grant awarded to Blue Orb. In 2008, Blue Orb received a grant dedicated to studying communication constructs of children with autism and developing a program using assistive technology to compliment lesson plans and help children with autism achieve higher in school. This initiative, called Project Blue Skies, proved successful in helping autistic children communicate their thoughts more clearly, leading to better student-teacher understanding and higher grades.

Director of Social Media Elizabeth Rissman commented, “This endeavor will promote learning and independence among persons with special needs who want to start their own businesses. Individuals with disabilities are highly underrepresented in the national workforce, and programs like these will hopefully alleviate some of the challenges they regularly encounter.”

Blue Orb invites people with special needs to participate in this exciting program. If you or a friend or family member could benefit from this initiative, please contact elizabeth@orbiTouch.com

OrbiTouch to release new products

MAITLAND, FLORIDA–OrbiTouch, makers of the original keyless keyboard, are known for innovative design in assistive technology. We are extremely excited to announce the availability of two new products:  orbiTouch Wireless and orbiTouch for tablets. These products will be available first quarter of 2012.

OrbiTouch Wireless

OrbiTouch Wireless resembles it’s predecessor, the original orbiTouch, on all levels except one–we’ve eliminated the cord. Through listening to customer feedback, we’ve been able to create an orbiTouch that is wireless, efficient, and powerful.  orbiTouch Wireless is battery powered and works with a wireless USB receiver.

Benefits of orbiTouch wireless

Increased flexibility and mobility: Users are no longer confined to cord length.  The new orbiTouch wireless can even be mounted onto a wheelchair.

Increased comfort:  Not only does orbiTouch’s unique design take the pain out of typing, but the user can now recline in their favorite chair and use a computer comfortably from anywhere in the room.

OrbiTouch for Tablets

Within recent years, tablets from Apple and Motorola have increased in popularity due to their convenient size and practicality.  To adapt to growing consumer demand, orbiTouch has developed software that allows the consumer to use orbiTouch typing on their tablet screen.

Once the software is downloaded onto the tablet, typing is accomplished by using thumbs on the far left and right sides of the tablet screen and moving them in the same direction combinations as with the original orbiTouch. Because this typing method requires the user to use only their thumbs, one never has to put the tablet down to type.  He or she can hold their tablet in their hands at all times, which makes surfing the web and note taking easier than ever.  An orbiTouch application for Android will be debuted first, followed by an iPad application in the second quarter of 2012.

By specializing in products that make technology more accessible and user-friendly for all, orbiTouch has been able to help persons with disabilities become more connected, productive, and engaged.  We hope by offering alternatives to the standard keyboard, more people will have access to technology and hopefully, a better quality of life.

3 Reasons to Hire Persons with Special Needs

People with disabilities are veteran problem solvers.  

If you are one of the millions of Americans looking for a job, you will know that companies want to hire candidates who demonstrate “creative problem solving.”  Why not then hire individuals who out of necessity must creatively problem solve in their daily lives?  Because people with disabilities find innovative ways to maintain their independence, they are used to analyzing challenging situations and coming up with a viable game plan.  It is conceivable that this behavior would beneficially transfer to a business setting.

Hiring persons with disabilities sets an example for your company culture. 

If you’ve ever gone through orientation at a large corporation, there normally is a segment in the orientation curriculum about Company X’s “commitment to diversity.”  Yet people of protected classes are still underrepresented in the majority of American companies.

Last week when orbiTouch attended the Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ Employment Conference, we learned that company culture at organizations who hire those with special needs becomes stronger because the company is figuratively and literally “putting their money where their mouth is.”  Companies experience higher retention rates and increased company morale because those in charge followed through with the company’s commitment to diversity.  In an age characterized by layoffs and broken promises, follow through speaks volumes about credibility as a company.

People with disabilities offer a unique perspective. 

Say you’re planning the biggest event of the year for your company.  By holding this event, you’re hoping to strengthen relationships with existing clients and gain exposure to develop relationships with new ones.

But have you considered the following:  Is your event venue wheelchair accessible?  Do you plan to incorporate media into your presentation?  If so, did it occur to you to use closed captioning for dialogue so individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can fully understand the presentation?

These are details may not seem that important–until you lose business when a potential client who has a special need was not accommodated. Businesses who fail to accommodate those with special needs are often seen as backwards and non-progressive.  By ignoring the needs of a sizable population, in this case persons with disabilities, you are narrowing the potential impact and success of your company.  Employing persons with disabilities and having them play a active role in company policymaking prevents the likelihood of a public relations faux-pax, like the hypothetical example above, because people with disabilities bring a unique life perspective to the table.  Because of their incredible problem solving skills, persons with disabilities are able to anticipate problems that would be overlooked by the non-disabled.

Veteran Corps purchases 15 orbiTouches for donation to wounded veterans

ORLANDO, FLORIDA–If you are a service-disabled veteran who’s always wanted to try orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard, this may be your chance.  Veteran Corps of America, a diversified technology and services provider for the U.S. Government, has recently bought 15 brand new, in the box orbiTouch units to donate to wounded veterans.

“We could not be more excited about this new initiative,” says Elizabeth Rissman, Director of Social Media for orbiTouch. “Veteran Corps and orbiTouch working together to help service-disabled veterans regain independence through computer use is a match made in heaven.”

Veteran Corps, located out of O’Fallon, Illinois, seems to be on a roll.  Vet Corps has enjoyed a three-year growth rate of a staggering 726%, gaining recognition from such publications as Inc. Magazine who bestowed a highly coveted spot on their fastest growing companies list for the second consecutive year.

Additionally, Veteran Corps scored a double win by capturing two spots on the GSA Stars II roster, a highly prestigious honor that makes it easier to sell IT to federal programs helping wounded veterans.

OrbiTouch, an American-made typing solution for persons with low finger and hand dexterity due to injury or disability, seems to fit into Veteran Corps agenda perfectly.  According to the Veteran Corps website, Veteran Corps “is a premier provider of high quality Information Technology, Homeland Security, and Office-Related services” that can be used to support service disabled veterans in the workplace or home to be more productive.

If you are a service-disabled veteran who is interested in being a part of this initiative, please email elizabeth@orbiTouch.com.  You will receive a free orbiTouch unit, normally a $399 value, and training for free.  All that we ask in return is feedback and perhaps a testimonial.  Also, make sure to check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/orbitouch