New Feature: Now you can upgrade Orbit Reader 20 firmware directly from the SD card. You no longer need a Windows PC to upgrade firmware!

News

/News
News 2019-06-07T10:58:55+00:00

Orbit Research is pleased to announce a much-awaited new feature – the ability to upgrade the Orbit Reader 20’s firmware from the SD card, instead of requiring a Windows PC!   This enables Mac and Linux users and those without direct access to a computer to easily upgrade the unit.

We would like to thank RNIB for supporting the development of this feature.

In order to use this feature, you will first have to update the bootloader, which is a mechanism to facilitate upgrading the system’s software.  Please note that upgrading the bootloader is required only in units that are currently in the field and is a one-time process.  New units from the factory will come with the new bootloader.

To perform the one-time upgrade of the bootloader, you will need to use a separate (Windows PC based) program which is similar to the firmware upgrade program that is used to upgrade the firmware.

Once you have the new bootloader in place, you will be able to perform future firmware upgrades through the SD card or the current method of using the Windows program.   Upgrading the bootloader is NOT necessary if you prefer to only use the existing method of upgrading the software using the Windows program.

Please download the software package titled “OR-20 – Bootloader Upgrade Package Setup vB0.00.00.05r02” from the Orbit Research website: https://www.orbitresearch.com/support/orbit-reader-20-bootloader-upgrade-package/

The package contains the following:

  1. Instructions to perform the bootloader upgrade:  OR-20 – Bootloader Upgrade Procedure v1.0.pdf
  2. Software Installation file: OR-20 – Bootloader Upgrade Package Setup vB0.00.00.05r02.exe
  3. A file containing release notes: OR-20 Bootloader Upgrade Utility vB0.00.00.05r02 Release Notes.txt

Important notes:

  1. Please read the instructions carefully before you start the upgrade
  2. Prior to starting the process, we strongly recommend that you confirm that your OR-20 unit is running software version B0.00.00.55r02 or later.  If it is running an earlier version, please upgrade it to the latest version B0.00.00.60r03 first. This will ensure that the messages that are displayed during the first upgrade using the SD card will match the messages described in the user guide.
  3. All settings on the Orbit Reader 20 will be reset to defaults after the bootloader upgrade
  4. If you have applied localization, you should download and use the latest localization package (version B0.00.00.26r01) from the website at https://www.orbitresearch.com/orbit-reader-localization-download/

The procedure to upgrade the bootloader is as follows:

 Install the OR-20 Bootloader Upgrade program by following the simple steps as is the case with any Windows installer.

  1. Once installed, run the Bootloader upgrade program.
  2. You can keep the OR-20 ON or OFF. It will not affect anything in the bootloader upgrade procedure.
  3. Connect the OR-20 to the PC using the supplied micro-B USB cable.
  4. Press and hold the Right Panning forward button (the lower part of the Right Panning button) and the Dot 6 key together.
  5. Now, press and release the Dot 8 key. The other keys can be released after this.
  6. The program will now begin preparing the device for upgrade.  This might take up to 10 seconds.
  7. When the preparation is complete, the program will show the message “The device is ready for upgrade”.
  8. Again, press and hold the Right Panning forward button and the Dot 6 key together
  9. Now, press and release the Dot 8 key. The other keys can be released after this.
  10. The program will begin the upgrade process and will take about 30 seconds to complete.
  11. The program will show the message “The device successfully upgraded to bootloader version vB0.00.00.xxyzz” after a successful upgrade.

For further details, please refer to the user guide at https://www.orbitresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/OR-20-Bootloader-Upgrade-User-Guide-v1.0-2.pdf

Once you have successfully upgraded the bootloader, your OR-20 is all set to perform future firmware upgrades from the SD card or using the traditional method.

The bootloader upgrade also updated your firmware to the latest version (vB0.00.00.61r01) and you do not need to reload any firmware for now, but If you wish to give the new method a try, you can download the standard firmware upgrade package from the website and perform the following steps:

Procedure to upgrade the firmware from SD card:

  1. Copy the binary file “Orbit Reader 20 – Target Software vB0.00.00.XXrYY.bin” from the download package to the root folder of the SD card. Use either the Orbit Reader Mass Storage Mode or remove the SD card and put it in a card reader on a computer. When completed, insert the SD card into the Orbit Reader 20.
  2. Turn off the OR-20. The unit should be turned off before the upgrade is started.
  3. Press and hold the Right Panning forward button (the lower part of the Right Panning button) and Dot 4 together, then turn on the Orbit Reader 20; it will show the message “Preparing…”. Now you can release all the keys. Typically, it will take about 40 to 50 seconds to prepare.
  4. Once preparation is complete, the Orbit Reader 20 should show the message “Upgrading….”.  Progress is shown by blinking 4 cells containing dot 6 at the end of the message.
  5. Typically, it will take 2.5 to 3 minutes to upgrade the firmware. DO NOT remove the SD card during the upgrade process.
  6. When the upgrade has completed, the Orbit Reader 20 will show the message “Upgrade complete” for a few seconds and then the device will automatically reset itself and turn off.
  7. The Orbit Reader is now upgraded. Turn on the Orbit Reader to start using the device.
  8. To check for the successful upgrade of the device, press Select + Up Arrow to open the Orbit Reader Menu and arrow to “Ver” in the list. The version number of the firmware release should match the number in the name of the bin file.

For further details, please refer to the release notes at https://www.orbitresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/OR20-Software-vB0.00.00.61r01-Release-Notes.txt  and the updated user manual at https://www.orbitresearch.com/support/orbit-reader-20-support/orbit-reader-20-user-guide-downloads/. For upgrade instructions, please refer to Section 21 of the user guide.

Customer Support Team

Orbit Research

techsupport@orbitresearch.com

An affordable system to translate standard files and display them in braille has long been the dream of blind people and educators across the world. The Duxbury Braille Translator – Orbit Edition, announced today by Orbit Research LLC and Duxbury Systems, Inc. at the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference finally makes this a reality. It is the world’s most affordable, full-featured Braille Translation and Display system, priced at a fraction of the cost of similar systems.

Orbit Research, manufacturer of the Orbit Reader 20 – the world’s most affordable Braille Reader, Notetaker and Refreshable Braille Display and Duxbury Systems Inc., the developer of the Duxbury Braille Translation (DBT) – the braille translation software used by virtually all of the world’s leading braille publishers, joined forces to create the Duxbury Braille Translator – Orbit Edition.

Released initially for the Indian market, the Duxbury Braille Translator – Orbit Edition enables users to convert Microsoft Word documents, text files and HTML to braille with market-leading accuracy and ease. Braille files can be created and edited on the Orbit Reader 20 and converted back into Microsoft Word, text or HTML format. The system supports 24 Indian languages including Assamese, Awadhi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Haryanvi, Hindi, Kannada, Kurukh, Magahi, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Meitei (Manipuri), Oriya, Punjabi, Sadri, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Sylheti, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu. It translates these into contracted and un-contracted grades of braille for each language.

The joint mission of the companies was to create a low-cost ecosystem that enables students and adult users to have access to files of various common formats that are found in the school, workplace and on the internet and allow accurate and easy translation to and from braille that can be displayed on the Orbit Reader 20.

The introduction of the braille translation and display solution to the Indian braille user community is a natural continuation of both companies’ quest to promote braille literacy and offer innovative and affordable solutions to enhance access to digital and print information and improve communication between sighted and blind people.

The Duxbury Braille Translator – Orbit Edition is available for purchase with the Orbit Reader 20 or separately by calling +91-6353-512-142 or emailing sales@orbitresearch.com.

About Orbit Research:
Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded with the mission to fulfill the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orion Talking Scientific Calculators and the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and cost. For more information, visit https://www.orbitresearch.com.

About Duxbury Systems:
Duxbury Systems is a leading provider of Braille Translation software to virtually all of the world’s leading braille publishers. Its software supports the majority of world’s languages for both contracted and uncontracted braille, technical braille, graphics and mathematics. The Duxbury Braille Translator [Windows & Mac] is for those who are experts and those who are not. For more information visit http://www.duxburysystems.com

Tuesday August 02, 2016

Revolutionary technology from Orbit Research enables a new paradigm in education and access to graphical information for the blind

WILMINGTON, DE

Orbit Research and the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) today announced the introduction of Graphiti, the world’s first affordable tactile graphics display.

Based on revolutionary Tactuator technology from Orbit Research, the Graphiti refreshable tactile graphics display represents a breakthrough in non-visual access to graphical information such as charts, drawings, flowcharts, floorplans, images and photographs, through an array of moving pins. The most unique feature of the technology is the ability to set each pin to different heights, which enables the display of topographical maps and other graphical elements such as grey shades and color represented as varying heights of pins that can be readily sensed by the user’s fingers.

Connectable to computers, tablets, smartphones, or the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator via a USB-C port or Bluetooth, its open API allows developers to create apps to work with Graphiti. Additionally, an HDMI port allows connection to any device with a video display output, identifying the unit as a display monitor. This enables any device to connect seamlessly to Graphiti. The unit also includes a cursor pad for navigation, and an SD-card slot for loading files for reading and editing in a standalone mode.

Graphiti also features a touch interface to enable the user to “draw” on the display; tracing a shape with a fingertip raises the pins along the path traced. The touch interface allows traditional forms of touch commands such as scrolling, multi-touch gestures, etc. In addition, it enables novel uses such as “pushing” or “nudging” an object on the display to physically move it.

The proprietary technology is fundamentally scalable and enables development of refreshable graphic displays of any size, at a fraction of the cost of graphic displays in the market today. The first model has 2,400 pins in an array of 60 x 40 pins, and can be used in a portrait or landscape orientation. Each pin is independently addressable and can also be made to individually “blink” at configurable rates.

Building upon APH’s vast experience in the development of educational products and Orbit Research’s core technology and expertise in developing affordable accessible products, this unique product is the outcome of continuing collaborative efforts between the companies.

“We are tremendously excited about the opportunities Graphiti opens for the blind or visually impaired user. Our Orion family of talking scientific and graphing calculators enabled access to mainstream tools for STEM education for blind and visually impaired students. The recently announced Orbit Reader 20, enables access to low-cost braille and literacy. We believe Graphiti will do for graphics what the Orbit Reader 20 did for braille, as said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, Orbit Research’s Founder. The variable-height capability that our Tactuator technology enables will allow blind users to experience and interact with graphics like never before live and in three dimensions. For the first time, a blind user will be able to create graphics in digital form, enter them into a computing device, review and edit them, and exchange such graphics with others, she added.

This technology is breaking new ground for the education of the braille reading students and adults we serve. It gives us a glimpse into the future of what the graphical digital information age will look like. Up until now, we have only imagined. Graphiti proves that we can, said Dr. Craig Meador, APH President. It will be an invaluable tool in the classroom because of its versatility. For the first time in history, a student who is blind can connect a tactile monitor to instruments, including microscopes, telescopes, or video cameras for real time depiction of dynamic content. For example, it will connect to the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator and students will be able to see the graph, immediately, on the tactile screen. Textbooks in math and science contain thousands of graphics. Graphiti provides a path toward delivering textbooks with graphics, electronically.

The product is expected to ship in late 2017 and further details can be found at https://www.orbitresearch.com/graphiti.

About Orbit Research:
Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded with the mission to fulfill the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orbit Reader 20, Orion Talking Graphing and Scientific Calculators and the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and cost. For more information, visit https://www.orbitresearch.com.

About the American Printing House for the Blind:
The American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, is the world’s largest nonprofit company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the U.S. who are working at less than college level. APH produces textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats and manufactures hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products including computer software design and engineering along with other technology items. Visit http://www.aph.org for more information.

Thursday March 24, 2016:

Revolutionary technology from Orbit Research enables TBG￿s objective of achieving affordable braille for all

WILMINGTON, DE — March 23, 2016 — An affordable braille display has long been the dream of blind people and educators across the world. The Orbit Reader 20, announced today by Orbit Research and the Transforming Braille Group finally makes this a reality. It is the world’s most affordable, full-feature Refreshable Braille Display, priced at a fraction of the cost of similar devices. Based on revolutionary braille technology from Orbit Research, the Orbit Reader 20 provides signage-quality braille in a compact hand-held device with 20 eight-dot braille cells.

The Orbit Reader 20 is a unique 3-in-1 device and serves as a self-contained book reader, a note taker and as a braille display by connecting to a computer or smartphone via USB or Bluetooth. As a braille display, the device works with all platforms including Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android, to provide access to all the features of these platforms using popular screen reader programs. It enables access to all applications, such as email, web-browsing, text messaging, creating and editing documents, etc. Though feature-rich, the device is extremely simple to use and allows switching between the different functions seamlessly.

In addition to the braille cells, the Orbit Reader 20 also includes a high-quality, 8-key keyboard, a cursor pad and rocker keys for navigation and panning, and an SD-card slot for loading books and files for reading and editing in a standalone mode. It is fluid and dust resistant and its construction is optimized for durability in extreme environmental conditions.

“The Orbit Reader 20 represents the next step in our continuing mission to bring affordable products to the blind and visually impaired community. It is tremendously exciting and humbling to be able to bring to the market a product that has the potential to catalyze literacy for millions of blind people across the world” said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, Orbit Research’s Founder.

TBG President, Kevin Carey said: “The Orbit Reader 20 and its disruptive braille technology alters the refreshable braille landscape forever. It achieves TBG’s objective of providing an affordable solution for accessing e-books and other digital content via braille.”

The Orbit Reader 20 is available for pre-order now and will ship in late 2016.

About Orbit Research:
Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded with the mission to fulfill the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orion Talking Scientific Calculators and the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and cost. For more information, visit www.orbitresearch.com.

About the Transforming Braille Group:
The Transforming Braille Group LLC is a global consortium of organizations of and for the blind.

Tuesday  September 01, 2015:

The Orion TI-30XS MultiView levels the educational playing field for students who are visually impaired

DALLAS (Sept. 1, 2015) Texas Instruments (TI) (NASDAQ: TXN), Orbit Research and the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) today unveiled the Orion TI-30XS MultiView Talking Scientific Calculator, the world’s first fully accessible multi-line scientific calculator, created for students who are visually impaired, and available for the upcoming school year. Based on the popular TI-30XS Multiview scientific calculator from Texas Instruments, the Orion TI-30XS represents a breakthrough in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education for students with vision impairment.

Today, millions of scientific calculators are used in classrooms around the world and are an integral part of the high school math and science curriculum. However, the popularity and usefulness of scientific calculators has posed a challenge for students who are visually impaired since advanced models used in classrooms have not been accessible, until now. With the introduction of the Orion TI-30XS MultiView, visually impaired students now have access to the same technology as their peers as they tackle demanding subjects such as algebra, statistics and chemistry.

“For TI, this is about tearing down barriers for students with disabilities and empowering them to overcome challenges and do great things,” said Scott Sedberry, director of North American Business Development for Texas Instruments Education Technology. “The identical functionality of the accessible TI-30XS MultiView enables students with vision impairment to use the same calculator as their classmates, participate in the same curriculum and take advantage of the vast knowledge base and instructional materials that are already available for this technology.”

Educators who tested the calculator with their visually impaired students are eager to put it to use in the classroom. Susan Osterhaus, Statewide Mathematics Consultant at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and APH consultant, said, “This is going to be an awesome addition to our math toolbox and I am confident it will help our students learn and understand difficult concepts.”

The advanced, four-line scientific calculator, with higher-level math and science functionality, is ideal for middle school through college students. A clear, high-quality, recorded voice announces each key and the answer on the display, providing a choice of speech modes for quiet or verbose operation. Students will love the thin, lightweight design, and parents and teachers will love the familiar functionality that makes it easy to help with classwork and homework.

“When students have the right tools to access their curricula, we all benefit,” said Dr. Tuck Tinsley III, president of APH. “This new technology empowers students who are blind and have low vision to reach their full potentials and become the next generation of STEM scholars.”

The Orion TI-30XS Talking Scientific Calculator may be used on high-stakes exams as an approved accommodation for students who are visually impaired if it is specified in the student’s Individual Education Program (IEP). Check with your school’s assessment coordinator or guidance counselor to determine the guidelines for specific tests.

“The development of the Orion TI-30XS MultiView represents Orbit Research’s continuing commitment to level the playing field for visually impaired and dyslexic students,” said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, Orbit Research’s founder. “Building upon our long-term partnership with Texas Instruments, APH’s vast experience in the development of educational products, and our expertise in adapting mainstream calculators for accessibility, this product is the result of our collaborative efforts to develop game-changing technology.”

The calculator is available for purchase for the upcoming school year here (http://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_Orion TI-30XS MultiView Talking Scientific Calculator_34678672P_10001_11051)

About Texas Instruments:
Education Technology, a business of Texas Instruments, provides a wide range of tools connecting the classroom experience with real-world applications, helping students and teachers to explore mathematics and science interactively. TI’s products and services are tested vigorously against recognized third-party research, which shows that the effective use of graphing calculators improves the mathematical skills of students and their attitudes toward mathematics. For more information, visit www.education.ti.com.
Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) is a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company that develops analog ICs and embedded processors. By employing the world’s brightest minds, TI creates innovations that shape the future of technology. TI is helping more than 100,000 customers transform the future, today. Learn more at www.ti.com.

About the American Printing House for the Blind
APH, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the world’s largest company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for students who are visually impaired in the U.S. and outlying areas who are working at less than college level.

APH produces textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats. APH also designs and manufactures hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products. For more information, visit www.aph.org.

About Orbit Research
Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded with the mission to fulfill the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orion family of Talking Scientific and Graphing Calculators and the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and cost. For more information, visit www.orbitresearch.com.

Wednesday August 06, 2014:

WILMINGTON, DE – August 6, 2015 – Orbit Research LLC and the Transforming Braille Group LLC are pleased to announce an agreement to produce a low cost, refreshable braille display.

Orbit, an international engineering company based in Wilmington, Delaware, specialising in high quality, low cost products for blind and partially sighted people, will be undertaking the research, development and manufacture of this unique product.

The Transforming Braille Group LLC is a global consortium of organisations of and for the blind which is investing $1m in the project.

The objective of the project is to produce a stand-alone 20-cell refreshable braille display for $300 (or £200) which will bring refreshable braille within the reach of children in developing countries and will provide libraries in developed countries with a viable alternative to hard copy braille. The product will be launched at CSUN in 2016.

The display is designed to work through USB and Bluetooth connectivity with ‘smart’ phones and tablets. It is not intended to compete with high specification refreshable braille display already on the market, primarily used in education and employment but is intended to bring braille displayed e-books to a wide audience at an economical price.

“The agreement with TBG is a landmark in our journey to develop and manufacture essential products at an affordable cost through the application of mainstream technology in unique and innovative ways” said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, Orbit Research’s Founder. “While each of our previous products has brought a multi-fold improvement in the state of the art in terms of performance, cost, size and features, we are thrilled that through this partnership with TBG, we will be able to offer a game-changing product that will impact the daily lives of millions of blind people across the world”

TBG President, Kevin Carey said: “At last we have a technology which will guarantee the survival of braille. It has been my long-standing, publicly stated objective to find a disruptive technology which will radically force down the cost of refreshable braille so that the world’s digital content becomes available in a tactile format. This new device will bring braille within the price range of educators in developing countries and will enable most blind people to access e-books and other internet material without resorting to specialist libraries.”

TBG estimates that its new product will retail at a unit cost less than 20% of the current market price.

Contact details:
Kevin Carey, President,
Transforming Braille Group LLC
Tel: +44(0)1273 834321
Email: humanity@atlas.co.uk
www.Transformingbraille.org

Carla Morris
Orbit Research LLC
Tel: 1-888-606-7248
Email: morris.carla@orbitresearch.com
www.orbitresearch.com

Thursday July 03, 2014:

WILMINGTON, DE – July 3, 2014 – Orbit Research today announced the selection of its iBill Talking Bank Note Reader by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) for the U.S. Currency Reader Program. Through this program, the BEP will distribute the iBill device at no cost to eligible blind and visually impaired persons.

Beginning with distribution to eligible attendees at the annual conventions of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), American Council of the Blind (ACB), and Blinded Veterans of America (BVA), the U.S. Currency Reader Program will be open to the broader population in the January 2015 timeframe.

“First introduced in 2009, and now in its second generation, the iBill has set the standard for affordability, compactness, speed and accuracy, factors which rapidly made it the market leader. We are thrilled and humbled that the BEP has chosen the iBill for the U.S. Currency Reader Program.” said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, a founder of Orbit Research. “For over 15 years, Orbit Research has been committed exclusively to developing innovative products for the blind and visually impaired community and the selection of the iBill for this program is a source of great satisfaction for our team.” she added.

The iBill is designed with the sole purpose of providing the simplest, fastest and most accurate means to denominate US banknotes, the everyday task that most people take for granted, but which can be a challenge for people who are blind or visually-impaired since all denominations of US currency are the same size. Its unique ergonomic design permits easy and intuitive use without the need for any specialized training or extensive practice. Upon insertion of a banknote into the device, its denomination is identified at the press of a button. Based on the user’s preference, the denomination is announced by a clear and natural voice, or by tone or vibration for privacy. The unit identifies all US banknotes in circulation.

Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded with the mission to fulfill the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orion Talking Scientific Calculators and the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and cost. For more information, visit www.orbitresearch.com

Monday July 29, 2013:

Available now, in time for the fall 2013 school year! A specially adapted version of the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus transforms STEM education for blind and visually impaired students.

LOUISVILLE, KY and WILMINGTON, DE – July 29, 2013 — The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and Orbit Research announced today the availability of the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator (TGC), the world’s first fully accessible handheld graphing calculator. Based on the popular TI-84 Plus model from Texas Instruments, the market-leader in calculators and educational technology, the Orion TI-84 Plus TGC represents a breakthrough in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education for students who are blind and visually impaired.

The Orion TI-84 Plus TGC is available for sale by contacting APH at http://shop.aph.org/ or by calling customer service at 1-800-229-1839. In addition to normal sales, this product is also eligible for purchase by APH Ex Officio Trustees through the federally funded Quota Program.

“The excitement we have witnessed when displaying working prototypes at various conferences has been tremendous and so rewarding,” stated Ken Perry, Project Lead at APH. “This type of product has been needed and wanted during my 20 years in this industry. With the Orion TI-84 Plus TGC, the learning opportunities for those who are blind or visually impaired have been greatly enhanced. Imagine a blind or visually impaired student not just fully participating in classroom discussions, but now leading the discussion with their calculator, which functions and looks just like the original TI-84 Calculator.”

“Technology is an increasingly important element in STEM education, and millions of teachers and students are using TI-84 Plus handhelds every day,” said Melendy Lovett, president of Texas Instruments Education Technology. “We are just thrilled to combine our products with Orion’s accessibility features to provide visually impaired students access to the same technology their peers are using to gain a deeper understanding of math and science. This TI-84 Plus technology enhancement creates a powerful and exciting new way for students to learn math and science, thus leveling the playing field for visually impaired students.”

A lot of excitement over the Orion TI-84 Plus TGC was also expressed during the product’s field testing:

“I honestly feel that I would not have been able to complete the last month of Honors Geometry without the aid of the Orion TI-84 Plus TGC. Before receiving this unit, I did not have any type of scientific calculator. This calculator was invaluable in sections introducing trig. The ability to scroll back through the history to find previous answers, or typos in calculations was very useful. The Orion TI-84 Plus is very nice to use and I look forward to using it for years to come in math and science classes.”

“This product is truly a “game-changer” for students with visual impairments in STEM courses. The lack of a high-quality graphing calculator has been a major problem for the field for years. The fact that APH was able to partner with Orbit Research and Texas Instruments to provide an accessible calculator that is one of the most commonly used graphing calculators is wonderful. Students with visual impairments will now be able to complete most of the assignments with their peers using the same or very similar technology. This is critical for students with visual impairments who want to attend college. This is truly leveling the playing field and it is very exciting.”

“Though we have been keenly aware of the need for a TGC, we are overwhelmed by the intensity of the response from the field testing and demonstrations. It is extremely exciting and humbling to be able to make such a difference in the lives of these students” said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, Orbit Research’s Founder. “Blind or visually impaired students want to be just like other students and we are glad we were able to make this accessible unit resemble the original TI-84 Plus,” she added.

“Collaboration with Orbit Research is a significant opportunity that will allow us to bring high quality Text-to-Speech (TTS) synthesis to compact, handheld, embedded devices, said Roger D. Dudley, SpeechFX CEO. “The innovative FonixTalk synthesizer, which gives the Orion TI-84 Plus its voice, demonstrates the ability and expertise of SpeechFX to lead the embedded speech industry. We’re pleased to deliver and integrate our high-quality synthesized speech (TTS) to the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator.”

The outcome of collaborative efforts between Orbit Research, APH, Texas Instruments and SpeechFX, the Orion TI-84 Plus TGC consists of a compact accessory (the Orion) that is attached to the top of the TI-84 Plus Calculator; enabling a user who is visually impaired to interact with the TI-84 Plus using speech, audio, and haptic (vibration) feedback. All textual and symbolic information on the screen, as well as each key-press, is spoken using high-quality synthesized FonixTalk speech from SpeechFX. Most importantly, graphs can be explored using either spoken announcements or the SonoGraph audio and haptic feedback. Contents on the screen can be reviewed at any time, without affecting the calculation.

The unit is fully expandable with hardware accessories through a USB port and can print or emboss graphs, when connected through a PC, to a printer or braille embosser.

About Orbit Research:
Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded with the mission to fulfill the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orion Talking Scientific Calculators and the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and cost. For more information, visit www.orbitresearch.com.

About the American Printing House for the Blind:
APH, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the world’s largest company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the U.S. and outlying areas who are working at less than college level.

APH produces textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats. APH also designs and manufactures hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products. For more information, visit www.aph.org.

About Texas Instruments:
Education Technology, a business of Texas Instruments, provides a wide range of tools connecting the classroom experience with real-world applications, helping students and teachers to explore mathematics and science interactively. TI’s products and services are tested vigorously against recognized third-party research, which shows that the effective use of graphing calculators improves the mathematical skills of students and their attitudes toward mathematics. For more information, visit www.education.ti.com. Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) is a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company that develops analog ICs and embedded processors. By employing the world’s brightest minds, TI creates innovations that shape the future of technology. TI is helping more than 100,000 customers transform the future, today. Learn more at www.ti.com.

About SpeechFX, Inc.
SpeechFX, Inc., delivers embedded speech software, both text-to-speech and voice recognition for ARM-based, SH4 and DSP processors found in mobile devices, interactive software and video games. The Company owns proprietary speech and voice technologies, with seven issued patents. For more information, visit www.speechfxinc.com.

Monday July 29, 2013:

Now available — the groundbreaking Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator

WILMINGTON, DE and SALT LAKE CITY, UT – July 29, 2013. Orbit Research and SpeechFX Inc. today announced a software license to embed SpeechFX Inc.’s FonixTalk high-quality Text-to-Speech (TTS) solution into Orbit Research’s line of products for the blind and visually impaired. Combining these two solutions is expected to generate significant benefits for end-users by leveraging the complementary talents and resources within each company.

The first product to use the FonixTalk technology, the Orion TI-84 Plus handheld Talking Graphing Calculator, developed by Orbit Research in collaboration with the American Printing House for the Blind and Texas Instruments, is now shipping.

The calculator is based on the popular TI-84 Plus model from Texas Instruments and enables a user who is visually impaired to interact with the unit using speech, audio, and haptic (vibration) feedback. All textual and symbolic information on the screen, as well as each key-press is spoken using the FonixTalk TTS.

“The relationship with Orbit Research is a significant opportunity that will allow us to bring high quality TTS to compact, handheld, embedded devices, said Roger D. Dudley, SpeechFX, CEO. “The innovative FonixTalk synthesizer, which gives the Orion TI-84 Plus its voice, demonstrates the ability and expertise of SpeechFX to lead the embedded speech industry. We’re pleased to collaborate with Orbit Research to further enhance and integrate high-quality synthesized speech (TTS) into handheld products.”

“High-quality speech was a key requirement for the Orion TI-84 Plus, which represents a breakthrough in STEM education for students who are blind and visually impaired.” said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, Orbit Research’s Founder. “The licensing and integration of SpeechFX’s advanced FonixTalk TTS represents an exciting opportunity which will help us fully deliver on our mission of providing groundbreaking affordable products that are essential for an independent and productive lifestyle.”

The Orion TI-84 Plus will be available for sale and through APH’s Federal Quota Program and is shipping now.

About Orbit Research:
Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded with the mission to fulfill the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orion Talking Scientific Calculators and the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and cost. For more information, visit www.orbitresearch.com.

About SpeechFX, Inc.
SpeechFX, Inc., delivers embedded speech software, both text-to-speech and voice recognition for ARM-based, SH4 and DSP processors found in mobile devices, interactive software and video games. The Company owns proprietary speech and voice technologies, with 7-issued patents. For more information, visit www.speechfxinc.com.

Tuesday February 26, 2013:

Coming for the fall 2013 school year: A specially adapted version of the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus calculator will transform STEM education for students who are blind and visually impaired

WILMINGTON, DE — February 26, 2013 — Orbit Research and the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) today announced the introduction of the Orion TI-84 Plus, the world’s first fully accessible handheld graphing calculator. Based on the popular TI-84 Plus model from Texas Instruments, the market-leader in calculators and educational technology, the Orion TI-84 Plus represents a breakthrough in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education for students who are blind and visually impaired.

With the advent of the graphing calculator, mathematics educators immediately recognized its potential for improving both the efficiency and the effectiveness of mathematics instruction by using it to promote exploration, conceptual understanding, modeling and complex problem solving. Today, literally millions of graphing calculators are used in math and science classes, and are an integral part of the high-school math curriculum. The most widely adopted graphing calculators are from the TI-8x family.

However, the popularity and usefulness of graphing calculators also poses a challenge for students who are blind and visually impaired, since none of the models used in classrooms have been accessible thus far. While some specialized computer software programs for graphing exist for students who are visually impaired, it has been difficult for them to participate fully in classroom activities with other students who are using calculators such as the TI-84 Plus.

Building upon APH’s vast experience in the development of educational products and Orbit Research’s expertise in adapting mainstream calculators for accessibility, and its long-term partnership with Texas Instruments, the companies collaborated to develop this unique product.

“Texas Instruments is passionate about helping teachers bring math and science to life for all students and Orbit Research has helped to develop an accessible version of the TI-84 Plus for students who are blind and visually impaired, said Scott Sedberry, Strategic Business Manager for Texas Instruments Education Technology. “The identical functionality of the accessible and traditional versions of the TI-84 Plus enables students who are blind and visually impaired to use the same device as their classmates, participate in the same curriculum and take advantage of the vast knowledge-base and instructional materials that are already available for this handheld. We are very excited about the opportunities this creates in STEM education and are committed to continued efforts to level the playing field for this population of students through our partnership with Orbit Research.”

The Orion TI-84 Plus consists of a compact accessory that is attached to the top of the TI-84 Plus and enables a user who is visually impaired to interact with the TI-84 Plus using speech, audio, and haptic (vibration) feedback. All textual and symbolic information on the screen, as well as each key-press is spoken using high-quality synthesized speech. Most importantly, graphs can be explored using either spoken announcements or the SonoGraph audio and haptic feedback. The user can also review the contents of the screen at any time, including all text and graphical information, without affecting the calculation.

The unit is fully expandable with hardware accessories through a USB port and can also print or emboss graphs when connected to a printer or braille embosser.

The Orion TI-84 Plus will be available through APH’s Federal Quota Program and units will ship in time for the 2013-2014 school year.

About Orbit Research
Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded with the mission to fulfill the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orion Talking Scientific Calculators and the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and cost. For more information, visit www.orbitresearch.com.

About the American Printing House for the Blind
APH, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the world’s largest company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for students who are visually impaired in the U.S. and outlying areas who are working at less than college level.

APH produces textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats. APH also designs and manufactures hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products.
For more information, visit www.aph.org.

TI-84 Plus is a trademark of Texas Instruments, Inc.

SonoGraph is a trademark of Orbit Research.

Tuesday September 18, 2012:

WILMINGTON, DE – September 18, 2012 — Orbit Research today announced the launch of the second-generation iBill Talking Bank Note Reader for people who are blind, visually-impaired or deaf-blind. Building upon the success of the revolutionary iBill, the new model provides numerous enhancements in ease of use, while maintaining the groundbreaking features that set the original product apart from the competition. It provides the most convenient and affordable means to identify money, the everyday task that most people take for granted, but which can be a challenge for people with visual impairments since all denominations of US currency are the same size.

The new iBill remains the world’s most affordable money identifier, retaining the extremely high accuracy (better than 99.9%), compactness (3 by 1.6 by 0.7 inches) and speed (less than one second to identify most bills) of the original model. Its key-fob design is now sleeker, and the new rounded shape is even more convenient to carry in a pocket, purse or on a keychain or lanyard. It now provides significantly enhanced volume, an earphone jack for privacy, recessed buttons to prevent inadvertent activation and improved ease of bill insertion. A custom leather case is now also available, providing protection and the ability to clip on to a belt or purse strap. The unit is upgradeable to recognize new banknote designs and is backed by a one-year warranty from Orbit Research, with toll-free customer support.

“Most of our customers told us that there was nothing more they wanted from the iBill, but some wished for higher volume and the ability to use an earphone. We believe this new model will better serve all our customers and make the iBill more usable for people with hearing loss. People who are older and losing their vision and hearing feel cut off and concerned when they are not sure what money they are handing people or receiving as change. This product will significantly enhance their sense of independence and security” said a spokesperson for Orbit Research. “We don’t believe in standing still. Innovation is in our DNA”, she added.

The new iBill will begin shipping immediately and Orbit Research is accepting orders now.

Specializing in the development and manufacture of products for people with disabilities, Orbit Research’s mission is to employ cutting-edge technology to develop innovative and affordable products that are essential for an independent and productive lifestyle.

Contact: Carla Morris, (888) 606-7248
Email: morris.carla@orbitresearch.com

Orbit Research
3422 Old Capitol Trail, Suite 585,
Wilmington, DE 19808, U.S.A.
Tel: (888) 606-7248
https://www.orbitresearch.com

Saturday December 19, 2009:

Priced at $99, the iBill is a breakthrough in independent living for the blind and visually impaired

WILMINGTON, DE – October 19, 2009 — Orbit Research today announced the introduction of the iBill, the world’s first affordable TalkingBank Note Reader for the blind and the visually impaired. Priced at $99, the 1.5 ounce, pager-sized iBill represents a breakthrough in enabling the blind and the visually impaired community achieve independence in the everyday necessity of using paper currency, which sighted people take for granted. At about a third of the cost of existing devices, the iBill offers unrivalled features, ease of use and accuracy of identification.

The iBill is an exceptionally convenient and affordable solution that can be used by each and every blind or visually impaired individual. Measuring just 3 inches by 1.6 inches by 0.7 inches, the ultra-slim and compact “key-fob” design provides the ultimate in convenience, allowing it to be carried unobtrusively in a pocket, purse, clipped to the belt or attached to a keychain or lanyard. Among the features that set it apart from other such devices are the extremely high accuracy (better than 99.9%) and the near-instantaneous speed (less than one second in most cases) with which it identifies banknotes.

The iBill is designed with the sole purpose of providing the simplest, fastest and most accurate means to identify US banknotes. Its unique ergonomic design permits easy and intuitive use without the need for any training or practice. Upon insertion of a banknote into the device, its denomination is identified at the press of a button. Based on the user’s preference, the denomination is announced by a clear and natural voice, or by tone or vibration for privacy. The unit identifies all US banknotes in circulation and recognizes them in any orientation. Banknotes in poor physical condition are indicated as un-identifiable and are not misread. The unit is also upgradeable to recognize new banknote designs.

The iBill achieves all of this while operating on a single, commonly available AAA battery which lasts for over a year with typical use. Its durable construction and sealed design ensure trouble-free use. The unit is backed by a one-year warranty from Orbit Research, and toll-free customer support.

“Orbit Research has once again demonstrated its commitment to the development of breakthrough technology and products that make a direct and measurably positive impact to the daily lives of the community we serve,” said Michael Nolan, President of Orbit Research.

Orbit Research has filed patents on the technologies employed in the iBill, which enable its ground-breaking compactness, performance and features.

Samples of the iBill are available for evaluation now and Orbit Research is accepting orders.

Specializing in the development and manufacture of products for people with disabilities, Orbit Research’s mission is to employ cutting-edge technology to develop innovative and affordable products that are essential for an independent and productive lifestyle.

Contact: Carla Morris, (888) 606-7248
Email: morris.carla AT orbitresearch.com

Orbit Research
3422 Old Capitol Trail, Suite 585,
Wilmington, DE 19808, U.S.A.

Tel: (888) 60-ORBIT
https://www.orbitresearch.com

Friday February 19, 1999:

Costing less than $200, Calculator will Revolutionize Math Education for the Blind

WILMINGTON, DE — February 19, 1999 — Orbit Research today announced the introduction of the ORION TI-34, the world’s first affordable Talking Scientific Calculator for blind and visually impaired students and professionals. Priced at $199, the 11 ounce, pocket sized ORION TI-34 represents a breakthrough in math and science education for special-needs students. At close to a third of the cost of other talking scientific calculators, ORION provides unrivaled features and ease of use.

Based on the popular TI-34 scientific calculator from Texas Instruments, ORION is specially designed for use by the visually impaired and dyslexic. The calculator vocalizes each key that is pressed and reads out displayed answers in a clear, natural voice, while maintaining the exceptional functionality and ease of use of the TI-34. The calculator has over 95 scientific functions including statistics, trigonometry and Boolean logic. Visually impaired users will find ORION’s unique Learning Mode particularly useful as it enables them to effortlessly locate and identify any key even in the middle of a calculation without interrupting it.

“We applaud Orbit Research for their success in developing teaching aids for the visually-impaired community,” said Julio Valella, Business Alliances Manager for Educational & Productivity Solutions at Texas Instruments. “We work closely with educators to develop our products, and are very pleased that our TI-34 was used as the basis for the ORION. Since both have identical functionality, special-needs students can now use the same calculator as their classmates. Moreover, teachers and tutors no longer need to learn to use a special device in order to teach or assist special-needs students.”

Measuring just 5.8 inches, by 2.9 inches, by 1.5 inches, the calculator is truly pocket sized. Its ergonomic design provides large, tactile, functionally zoned keys and thoughtfully placed controls. The unit comes with built in rechargeable batteries that provide over 7 hours of continuous operation, as well as a mains adapter which doubles as a battery charger. Included with the unit are an impact resistant plastic cover, a high-quality earphone for private use and instruction manuals in large print and on cassette tape. Orbit Research provides a one year warranty and toll-free technical support and customer service.

“By being able to offer ORION at about a third of the cost of similar units, Orbit Research demonstrates its commitment to bring affordable technology to the special-needs community, while providing features and performance that the mainstream population takes for granted but which are usually inaccessible to the visually impaired,” said Michael Nolan, President of Orbit Research. Samples of the ORION TI-34 are available for evaluation now and Orbit Research is accepting orders for April delivery.

Specializing in the development and manufacture of products for people with disabilities, Orbit Research’s mission is to employ cutting-edge technology to bring to the community at affordable prices, products that are essential for an independent and productive lifestyle. Further information on the ORION TI-34 is available at www.orbitresearch.com

TI-34 is a trademark of Texas Instruments, Inc.

Contact: Carla Morris, (888) 606-7248
Email: morris.carla@orbitresearch.com

Orbit Research
Tel: (888) 60-ORBIT
https://www.orbitresearch.com