Press release submitted to Paths to Technology by Orbit Research.
SONIPAT, INDIA – October 15, 2019 –
Orbit Research announced the launch of the Orbit TeacherTM platform at the EMPOWER 2019 conference today. This unique platform enables teachers in mainstream classrooms to seamlessly interact with blind students through an app on a smartphone, computer or tablet. The app connects over Bluetooth to the student’s Orbit Reader 20 braille display and provides a real-time text translation of the braille being read or written by the student on the device.
The platform also provides a student the ability to first learn braille if they are not braille users and then to learn other subjects using braille. Through specialized interfaces on Orbit Research’s braille and tactile graphics products, and software that runs on computers and smartphones or tablets, the platform provides the breakthrough ability to develop and deliver educational materials in the form of interactive lessons and tutorials. These can be administered under a teacher’s or parent’s supervision, or by the students themselves, in a self-paced mode. The platform also provides remote operation capabilities which allow a teacher to easily provide instruction to students in remote locations. A content authoring tool for the platform enables anyone to create interactive lessons and tutorials, with minimal training.
“Braille literacy is critical to the success of blind children and the Orbit Teacher is a major step forward towards achieving this goal in an inclusive classroom setting.” said Kevin Carey, Chair of the World Braille Council and former Chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People. “I am thrilled to see this groundbreaking capability become available on the most affordable braille display in the world, the Orbit Reader 20.”
While designed for both blind and deaf-blind users, the tutorials can also take advantage of audio and speech capabilities from the smartphone, PC or tablet to provide audio cues and feedback to the student when used in the interactive self-learning mode.
“With over two decades of innovation in educational technologies for people who are blind and visually impaired, starting with the Orion series of talking scientific and graphing calculators, the Orbit Reader 20 braille display and the Graphiti Tactile Graphic Display, the Orbit Teacher platform is the latest addition to our family of educational products.” said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, Orbit Research’s founder. “The platform makes inclusive education a practical reality as mainstream teachers do not need to be familiar with braille to work with a blind student. With the integrated file-transfer feature, the teacher can wirelessly transmit class notes, homework problems and other materials to the student’s device over Bluetooth and the student can send back completed classwork and homework to the teacher. With the severe shortage of trained Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) globally, the self-learning features the platform offers will be a gamechanger for students, especially those in remote areas. The authoring tools make the creation and porting of educational content extremely easy for anyone and we are actively working on partnerships with the educational community to make their existing content available in interactive form” she added.
The platform is capable of supporting over 40 languages and also offers the ability to translate to and from contracted braille. The basic version of the app, which includes the real-time teacher interaction features is available now for free download from the Google Play Store and the Orbit Research website.
Together with the Orbit Reader 20, the Orbit Teacher provides the most affordable full-featured solution for the modern inclusive classroom.
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 accessible scientific and graphing calculators, the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier and the Orbit Reader 20 refreshable braille display that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience and affordability. For more information about the Orbit Reader here.