Orbit Research announces support for the new USB HID Standard for Braille Displays

The world’s most affordable braille display, the Orbit Reader 20, is the first refreshable braille display to support the new standard

Orbit Research today announced that it has introduced support for the newly released USB HID standard for braille displays. It is the first developer and manufacturer of braille displays to support the new standard which eliminates the need for special software or drivers and enables plug-and-play operation between electronic braille displays and devices such as computers and smartphones.

As an innovator and leader in the field of refreshable braille, Orbit Research was instrumental in proposing the need in the industry for a common and open communication protocol between refreshable braille displays and screen reading software. In collaboration with industry leaders including Apple, Microsoft and Google, Orbit Research and other companies jointly worked towards creating a USB standard that allows braille displays to communicate with screen-reader software on diverse operating systems and hardware platforms. This now minimizes and possibly even eliminates the need for each refreshable braille display to be tested with each screen-reader every time a new version of the software or firmware is released.

Orbit Research today released a software update for its flagship refreshable braille display product, the Orbit Reader 20, making it the first braille display in the world to support the new standard.

“We are very proud to be the first braille display company to implement the new USB standard.” said Dr. Gina Spagnoli, Orbit Research’s founder. “We experienced first-hand the challenges in ensuring smooth interoperability between our first braille display product and screen-readers. The resources required to do this on an ongoing basis are enormous, especially considering the fact that there are over half a dozen popular screen-readers that our products support. Some screen-reader vendors even require substantial fees to be paid for testing compatibility, making interoperability unaffordable for smaller new players in the market who have worked very hard to produce affordable low-cost displays for the first time. We hope that the new standard will encourage more players to enter this field and look forward to the standard being adopted by all screen-reader and operating system vendors. This is yet another step towards making braille affordable for users in developing countries.”

The updated software for the Orbit Reader 20 can be downloaded from the Orbit Research website http://www.orbitresearch.com and also includes other feature enhancements.

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, visit http://www.orbitresearch.com.

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