Any First Impressions of the Orbit Braille Display?

Braille on Apple Products

Hello everyone. I'm on the prowl for a 20 cell display for the purposes of operating my phone when i'm on the train as part of my daily commute - my larger 40 cell displays are just too long. I'm hoping soon to have a Vario Ultra to evaluate, and its user comments read so far tend me towards expecting a good evaluation. However: the Orbit is coming, and I should research this device as well. I am not concerned about price, (not intended to be arrogant) but features and quality matter. Does anyone have preliminary comments on the Orbit's features, sturdiness of design and pairing with the Iphone and other portables?

Many thanks. Vaughan.



Submitted by Brian Tew on Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Are they actually selling them now?
I wonder if the dots form and reform quickly enough.
Sure hope these machines work out.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I am prefacing what I'm saying with the fact that what I saw was a prototype, they were showing it off at CSUN, and I think, also the blindness conventions here in the US.
The one issue I see with the braille tech inside the Orbit Reader is that it takes a bit to refresh, and because of the design, refreshes one cell at a time. This is not usually a problem when reading a book, but seemed a bit sluggish when paired with an external device such as an iPhone. However, for under $500, which is what is expected when they become available late this year, you will make a compromise. If you can afford it, the VU 20 is a great way to go and you will not have these limitations. The only draw-back at this point to the VU is the battery life isn't the greatest. I'm guessing you read my accessory review on it? If you can afford it, I'd go with that. If you are looking for something just to use with your iPhone, maybe also consider the Refreshabraille 18. it doesn't have note taking functions, but has pretty darn good battery life. I also posted an accessory review to this display on AppleVis. Good luck!

Confirming that I have read the VU review (in particular) and it helped me consider trying to purchase one. I've also been able to check out podcasts and comments from other sites.

Your description of the slow referesh (unless it is drastically overhauled with development) would frustrate me, so i'm prepared to wait for the Orbit to mature based on user feedback and will still pursue acquisition of the Ultra. Refreshabraille may be a good second alternative. I admit to being something of a "Goldie Locks" when it comes to Braille display dimensions - 14 cells is too small, 18 might be about right, but 20 for my purposes seems perfect. So: Hoping the Orbit meets the objective of getting more braille to more people, but i'll chase the Ultra in the meantime.