Orbit Writer Review/Podcasting notes


Product Name:


Orbit Writer.




Orbit Research.










Brief Product Description:


The Orbit Writer is a compact and portable Braille input Perkins style keypad that can access a range of mobile and desktop operating systems as an actual keyboard or with their associated screen readers supports up to 5 Bluetooth devices and one UsB device.

Haptic feedback for settings, and features.

If you know the layout of the Orbit Reader 20 Braille notetaker and Braille display, then you know the layout of the Orbit Writer keyboard.

NB - Braille input keyboard, no Braille display or speech output.




Extremely well written.

Documentation in brf, doc, pdf, and html formats.

Website for documentation - https://www.orbitresearch.com/support/orbit-writer-support/




16.0x 6.5 x 0.8 CM.

90 Grams.


In the Box:


Orbit Writer,

micro UsB cable,

And getting started in print and Braille.


Physical Description:


6 Braille input Perkins style keys top back face. 

Cursor pad inbetween and slightly below dot 1 and dot 4 keys with up, down, left and right in a circle, and select key in middle.

Dot 7, Space and dot 8 keys at top front middle face.

Lanyard port front middle edge.

Micro UsB port middle left edge.

4 round rubber feet on bottom corners.


Main Features:


Works with all smart phones and computers out of the box.

Light weight, and  Compact design to fit in a pocket or purse.

Quiet operation with positive tactile feedback.

Perkins style keyboard with cursor pad.

Replaces need to use touch screen.

Fast charging (less than 2 hours), 3 days of use.

Check battery strength.

Supports up to 5 Bluetooth devices, and 1 UsB device.

Adjust strength of Haptic feedback.

Adjust auto shut down time.

Attachment points for strap or lanyard.

Support for all languages on phones or tablets.




3 days of operation.

Fully charge under 2 hours.

Charge from USB adapter (not supplied) or computer.

When power plugged in, short vibration,  when removed long vibration (whether unit is on or off).

Can be used whilst charging.

Rechargeable and non replaceable batteries.

When unit  gets down to 20% charge, 3 short pulses every 3 minutes.

If battery too low when turning on, unit will automatically shut down.


Confirm battery charge: press and hold Space+Up Arrow for 1 second.

1 short pulse if battery level between 0 and 20%.

2 short pulses if battery level between 20% and 40%.

3 short pulses if battery level between 40% and 60%.

4 short pulses if battery between 60% and 80%.

Long pulse if battery level is grater than 80%.

Auto shut down to save battery can be adjusted, default is 10 minutes.


Tips  for Initial Orbit Writer Operation:


Turn on/off - hold Down/Up for 1 second, short pulse for on, long pulse for off.


Pair to 5 Bluetooth and 1 USB channel.

Channel 1 (default) - Space+Left+1.

Channel 2 - Space+Left+2.

Channel 3 - Space+Left+3.

Channel 4 - Space+Right+4.

Channel 5 - Space+Right+5.

Channel 6 (UsB) - Space+Right+6.

If channel not previously paired, 3 short pulses

If channel paired: 2 short pulses

Pair channel: hold down command (Space+Left+ChannelNumber) for 1 second to feel short pulse (now in paring mode plus overwrite previous pairing if present).

In some situations, reconnecting via Bluetooth may take up to 10 seconds.


Connecting to a Mobile Device Example -


iOS VoiceOver:


Turn on Orbit Writer - Down+Up for 1 second (short pulse).

Place Orbit Writer in pairing mode (channel 1 is default if used for first time). Otherwise, press Space+Left+2 (3 4 or 5) for 1 second, short pulse.

Goto Settings, VoiceOver, Braille, and select Orbit Writer xx (were XX is the serial number of the Orbit Writer).

When paired, short pulse.

When iOS device is locked, Orbit Writer disconnects, 2 short pulses.

When iOS device unlocked, Orbit Writer will reconnect, 2 short pulses.

To turn Orbit Writer off, Down/Up for 1 second, 1 long pulse.


Basic iOS/VoiceOver  commands

The cursor navigation pad, Left or Right Arrows move VoiceOver cursor to previous or next item (1 finger flick left or right).  Select /perform  action command (1 finger double tap). Up or Down Arrow (1 finger flick up or down) move or select current VoiceOver rotor item.  Adding Space to the navigation keys performs Orbit Writer functions such as pairing mode or checking the battery.


Chord Commands (note - best way to remember these chord commands is there positioning in the 6 dot Braille cell in their relation to each other.

Space+1 or 4 - previous or next item.

Space+36 - select/perform action command.

Space+125 (h) - perform Home function).  When pressed twice, App Menu.

Space+23 or 56 - move to previous or next VoiceOver rotor item.

Space+3 or 6 - select or move current rotor item.

Space+235 (s) - Status menu -

Space+25 - Control Centre.

Space+46 - Notifications Centre.

Space+135 (o) - Scroll right).

Space+246 (ow) - scroll left.

Space+156 (gh) - VoiceOver Magic double tap to start/stop media or answer.hang up a call.

Space+124 (f) - find text command.




Works with iOS, Android/Samsung, Fire OS, Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Supports up to 5 simultaneous and 1 USB connection.

Can be used as either an input keyboard (HID) or screen reader (SR) device..

Rapid switching between connected devices.


Supported screen readers include

iOS/Mac VoiceOver,

Android/Samsung/Amazon Talkback and Voice Assistant via Brailleback, and

Windows NVDA, JAWS, and Narrator (via BRLTTY).


Haptic feedback easily identified.


Particularly on iOs/VoiceOver, if user knows how to navigate with other Braille Input keyboards as found on a number of Braille displays, standard VoiceOver navigation can be considered the same.


Apple Watch OS 7 beta can use the Orbit Writer to navigate.


Screen readers that do not directly support the Orbit Writer as such, will still see it as an Orbit Reader 20 which will still enable the Orbit Writer to function.


Very light weight and quiet key operation.


To minimise sound of haptic feedback, 3 settings are available, soft, medium and hard pulse.

Space+Right to check current setting.  Space+Right held down for 1 second to change to next pulse setting which can be felt. 1 pulse soft, 2 pulses medium, and 3 pulses hard.

This is of particular importance if you don’t want the haptic sound being heard by others or coming through in a recording.


To adjust auto shout down of unit, 4 settings are available, 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes.

Space+Left to check current setting. Space+Left for 1 second to switch to next time out setting. 1 pulse 5, 2 pulses 10, 3 pulses 20, and 4 pulses 30 minutes.

Note - if iOS device goes to sleep, within the auto shut down period, it will reconnect when iOS device is awake.  If Orbit Writer being used for note taking, a possible suggestion to is to have the lock idle time of the iOS device greater than the Orbit Writer, then no need to reconnect.


Works well when using Orbit Writer with lanyard.


Mac VoiceOver detects Orbit Writer directly when plugged in as a USB device.  For Braille support, VoiceOver Utility, Braille, and Add Bluetooth Braille display and choose Orbit Writer.


Points to Consider:


Requires a Windows Pc to update the Orbit Writer.

Do not press down on the arrow keys, these keys are designed to push out from the edges. Pressing down fills quite hard whilst pushing out feels easy.

Be careful when holding down Space+Left+channel number to select desired channel for too long as after 1 second will put Orbit Writer in paring mode and previous pairing lost.


Testing remaining:


Android/Samsung, and Windows in particular with NVDA, JAWS, and Narrator.




$99 US plus shipping.


Other Accessories:


Orbit Writer Carrying case: $14.95 US.

Leather Orbit Writer carrying case: $29.00 US.

Orbit Writer Lanyard: $3.95 US.

Extended warranty: $25.00 US.


Similar Products on the Market:


As far as Braille input keyboards are concerned with no Braille Display, there is not any similar product on the market.  However, a similar concept keyboard for navigating with VoiceOver does exist, the RIVO keyboard, which works with mobile devices, but is 4 times the price, and is harder to learn as it has no relationship to any other devices on the market.








Vision Store should sell this product.


Initial Evaluation: September 3 2020.


David Woodbridge


QwerkyWriter S Typewriter Podcasting Notes


Product name: QwerkyWriter S Typewriter


Manufacturer: Qwerky Toys


Website: http://www.qwerkywriter.com


Email: support@qwerkytoys.com


The Qwerkywriter S Typewriter was inspired by the old fashion manual mechanical typewriters with the first version (the Qwerkywriter) being available in 2015.


The QwerkyWriter S Typewriter was available in 2018.


Overall Physical Description

The Qwerkywriter S Typewriter is 33CM wide. 18CM depth.  Front hight (on which sits all of the keyboard keys)) 2.5cm at the front sloping up by 3 degrees so that the back row of keys is higher than the front row of keys.  

There is a good gap between the actual keys and the raised back section of the keyboard.

the raised back section (4CM) contains the paper/rest/stand for a phone or tablet), Return Lever on left, paper roller with the paper feed knobs at each end, and 3 spaced paper guards.


All key hight from the chassis approximately 1cm giving good travel and excellent mechanical feedback.

All keys are well spaced from each other and between rows.


5 rubber round feet, one at each bottom corner, and 1 in the middle at the bottom front edge.


When you first touch the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter, you immediately get the feel of all of the high raised well spaced keys, the Return Lever , and the paper feed roller with the chunky paper feed knobs.


Main Features

The chassis of the keyboard is mat black powdered coated scratch resistant aluminium - giving a high quality and solid feel.

The top of the keyboard on which the actual keys sit, is moulded from the front edge to the back edge of the actual keyboard area.  The top of the unit where the keys sit extends slightly beyond the left and right edges of the chassis, giving good physical definition.


Integrated tablet stand at back top edge - fits most smart phone and tablets such as the iPad or Surface pro as long as they are less than 1.55CMS thick.

The integrated stand extends the full width at the top back of the keyboard with a raised section in the middle, in the old days, this would have supported the paper.


Cast metal programmable Return Lever top left hand side - defaults to the Enter key or up to 16 characters or shortcut commands such as cut, copy or paste.

The Return Lever is connected  to the chassis on the left just behind the paper roller which has the paper feed knobs at each end.

Return Lever feels like a dog leg as it comes out, bends slightly to the left, and then straitens out.

The Return Lever extends from just behind the paper roller and ends up to the left of the top 2 rows of the keyboard. i.e. just to the left of the Escape key on the top row which also contains the Function keys from F11 to F12 etc, and the Accent key on the next row down from the top which also contains the numbers from 1 to 0 etc.

Press the FN key + Return Lever to enter macro programming, enter up to 15 characters, short-cut key or press Enter key to set back to default Enter key function.  FN + Return Lever again to end macro programming.

The Return Lever itself, feels very very high gloss and smooth to the touch, compared to the mat finish on the chassis.

To the right of the Return Lever is the small USB Bluetooth toggle button.

This button is on the chassis just behind the paper roller which has the page feed knobs at each end.

There are small LED indicators to the right of the UsB Bluetooth toggle button, and just to the left of the right paper feed knob.  These LED indicators feel like small tactile markers.


Dual scroll knob encoders (the paper feed knobs)

These knobs feel like old fashion typewriter paper feed knobs which have horizontal tractor  wheel style treads with an indent in the middle.

The Right knob is set to Vertical Windows Scroll and the left knob is set to volume.

For the volume knob, turning the knob away from you if sitting in front of the keyboard, turns the volume up, and turning it back towards you, turns the volume down.

The function of the knobs can be reversed via FN+W: i.e. volume now on right and vertical window scroll on left.

Knobs click when rotated like old manual Typewriter paper feed knobs, again, giving good solid mechanical feedback.

In iOS 13, Vertical Window Scroll with the right page feed knob (default) can be enabled via the Accessibility option (Assistive Touch - see manual).


Main Keyboard keys.  Typewriter inspired Keycaps - 2 piece keycaps have great stability, response, and automotive grade electroplating.  Cherry MX “clicky” switches.

Main keys are round with a full finger tip indent.

Flat rectangular Backspace key, Left/Right Shift keys, Caps Lock, and Enter key.  Long flat Space Bar.

Tab key is round and indented like the main keys.

Tactile marker on F and J at front of keys.

The Tab key and the Backspace key are red, whilst all other keys are black with white characters with the silver electroplating around each key.

Other FN key functions include:

FN+F1 - volume down

FN+F2 - volume up

FN+F3 - previous track

FN+F4 - play/pause

FN+F5 - next track

FN+F12 - Home button on iOS

Keyboard sleep settings:

FN+8 - set keyboard sleep timer to 10 minutes

FN+9 - set keyboard sleep timer to 20 minutes

FN+10 - set keyboard sleep timer to 30 minutes

FN+11 - disable keyboard sleep timer (not recommended)

Notes - keyboard still honours multimedia function key settings on Windows, Mac, and iOS.

The FN+F12 for the Home button in iOS, not only does the Home button function, but does twice for the App Switcher, and if you have VoiceOver setup as an accessibility shortcut, pressing FN+F12 (Home button) 3 times will toggle VoiceOver on or off from the keyboard.

If you hold down FN+F12, this will also invoke Siri on iOS.

The Qwerkywriter S Typewriter also supports NKRO via FN+Page Down or FN+Page Up for older computers.  NKRO allows the keyboard to not miss any keys that are typed, especially for fast typists.


Bluetooth connectivity - connects up to 3 Bluetooth devices.

Bluetooth Connect rectangular  pairing button at rear to the right of the USB port if facing front of the keyboard.

To pair a device in slot 1 for example - press FN+1, press Bluetooth Connect button for pairing, and connect with devices Bluetooth settings.

FN + 1, 2 or 3 to pair and access the 3 devices when connected.

FN key is to the right of the Space bar.


Micro USB port - to both charge and connect to a computer.

At the rear To the left of the Bluetooth connect button if facing the front of the keyboard.

The accompanying UsB cable can only be inserted in the correct orientation in to the USB port with the two connectors on the UsB connector facing up.

If keyboard is UsB connected to a computer or UsB power, the battery is disconnected and the keyboard can be USB or Bluetooth Connected.

If not connected to a computer or power, keyboard must be on for the battery to engage via the power rocker switch located at the back right hand side of the keyboard just below and back of the right 

Page feed knob.

Note - if the rocker is flicked forward the keyboard is on and if flicked back the keyboard is off.

If not on power, keyboard needs to be on for Bluetooth connection.

The internal battery is at the bottom rear edge of the keyboard, 2-3 hours to fully charge, and lasts for 2-3 weeks of regular use. The battery can be changed if required.

If connected to USB power, it is safe to leave the keyboard connected as this will not affect the battery.


The wait of the keyboard is 1.36 kilograms - rather than feeling heavy when sitting down and typing on your lap, gives a feeling of solidness, and stability.


When connected to a Windows computer

The keys to the right of F12 from left to right are Pause, Print Screen, and Forward Delete.

Remember the Tab key is not rectangular as found on a standard computer keyboard, but is round like most of the keys on the keyboard.

The Backslash key is above the Enter key and below the Backspace key.

The 3 keys to the left of the Space Bar from left to right are Control, Alt, and Windows.

The two keys to the right of the Space Bar from left to right are the FN key, and Right Alt.

There is no upside down capital T cursor cross with space on either side of the Up Arrow key.  However, to the Left of the Up Arrow is the Right Shift Key, and to the right of the Up Arrow key is the End Key.

Going from the bottom right side of the keyboard up Right Arrow, End, PageDown, PageUp, Home, and Forward Delete key.

The rectangular BackSpace key is immediately to the left of the Home key.

Note - there is no Insert key on this keyboard.


When connected to Mac OS or iOS

The keys to the right of F12 from left to right are F13, F15, and Forward Delete key.

Remember the Tab key is not rectangular as found on a standard computer keyboard, but is round like most of the keys on the keyboard.

The Backslash key is above the Enter key and below the Backspace key.

the 3 keys to the left of the Space Bar from left to right are Control, Option, and Command.

The two keys to the right of the Space Bar from left to right are the FN key, and Right Option.

There is no upside down capital T cursor cross with space on either side of the Up Arrow key.  However, to the Left of the Up Arrow is the Right Shift Key, and to the right of the Up Arrow key is the End Key.

Going from the bottom right side of the keyboard up Right Arrow, End, PageDown, PageUp, Home, and Forward Delete key.

The rectangular BackSpace key is immediately to the left of the Home key.

Note - there is no Insert key on this keyboard.



A carry bag, dust cover, replacement keycaps, replacement battery or UsB cable  can be purchased through  Qwerky` Toys.


Screen Reader Performance

Both Narrator and Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) on Windows worked as expected using the Caps Lock key as the main command key for both screen readers.


VoiceOver on iOS and Mac OS worked as expected.  Sometimes on a 3rd party connected keyboard, the Control and Option keys (which are the main command keys for VoiceOver) can be a key apart or on either side of the Space Bar.  However, VoiceOver can also use the Caps Lock key as its main command key as well.

Note - both VoiceOver on iOS or Mac OS use the Control+Option keys as the main VoiceOver keyboard shortcut as well as the Caps Lock key.


Final Thoughts

After typing on the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter, going back to my usual laptop or Bluetooth keyboard, just feels wrong, and squashy.

This will be my keyboard to use on my UsB connected Surface Pro and my Bluetooth connected iPhone, iPad Pro, and MacBook Pro.

It really does remind me of typing on my IBM PS2 keyboard in the mid 1990’s.

When checking with Qwerky Toys as to how well the Qwerkywriter S travels in a computer bag without the keys popping off, they said that the keyboard is fairly rugged and should be fine when being carried around in a computer bag.


David Woodbridge January 2020

In this demo, I give you a full run down of the Rivo 2 keyboard.

Since my first demo of the Rivo 1 back in 2014, extremely pleased to have been able to give the Rivo 2 a good go through.

The Mic and speaker really make this a great solution for using your iPhone (in my case) truly hands free as it were.

In this demo I take you through a description  of the Tap whearable keyboard (5 rings that you whear on your fingers and use finger taps for keyboard/navigate), the Tap Manager app to set it up, the Tap Aloud app to teach yourself how to use the Tap keyboard, and show you how to navigate VoiceOver with the tap.

For more info or to purchase the tap goto:



In this demo, I take you through downloading FlickType to the iPhone, go through the FlickType screens/Tabs, use the demo mode within the FlickType app for pattern typing and sharing out via the Share Button, upgrade the app to use FlickType as a System Wide Keyboard, and do some more tap typing in Notes and twitter.

An Excellent app, and worth the small monthly subscription fee. 

In this demo I take you through a physical description of the O6 which is essentially a round device with a Centre button and a dial surrounding this button.  Either the Centre button and Ring dial can be press or held in for extended functionality and the ring dial itself can be turned clockwise or counter clockwise for more functionality.

Two modes Basic hold ring dial in until single long pulse or Advanced hold ring dial in until short two double pulses (vibrates.

In this demo, I take you through the functions that I use most of the time in either Basic or Advanced modes.

For more information on the O6 or to grab the manual, go to:



Demo of connecting and pairing the keyboard and the trackpad to the Mac, and using the keyboard on the iPhone with VoiceOver.

***warning*** NumPad does not support VoiceOver NumPad Commander when used with the Shift, Control, Option or Command keys: only the NumPad keys itself and the 0 key combinations.

In this demo, I take you through using a Bluetooth numeric keypad for use with VoiceOver using VoiceOver NumPad Commander.

Demo of using the RIVO (custom) Bluetooth keyboard for VoiceOver users on the iPhone

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