The orbiTouch sliding keyboard from Keybowl uses a pair of ergonomically sculpted domes to "type" characters with the same precision as pressing a key. This keyless typing opens up the world of computing and information access to people with repetitive stress injuries and limited hand use and challenges the dominance of the QWERTY keyboard design, a relic from the typewriter era of over a century ago.
Through its unique design the orbiTouch actually changes the whole process of typing through its physical and cognitive components. Physically, it relies on the whole hand versus the fingers to type. These hand motions are similar to the ones used on a QWERTY keyboard. Cognitively, the process is changed because on average it takes less time to learn to use the orbiTouch than it does to learn touch typing on a standard QWERTY keyboard. The orbiTouch offers a fully functional 128 "key" capability and 3-button mouse function.
According to Dr. Peter McAlindon, CEO and founder of Keybowl, "We founded this company to bring new products to market that provide universal access to computing. Our mission is to level the playing field. The orbiTouch is the first of a line of products that will change the way people view computer interaction."
A crucial aspect of the orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard research and development has been the field testing of prototype units with persons of diverse levels of typing ability and manual dexterity. This has led to numerous refinements in ergonomics and mechanical design elements that have yielded such benefits as the early statistics showing that an experienced typist can quickly regain over 50% of their original typing speed using the orbiTouch.
"Rarely is there a product with so profound an impact as the orbiTouch Keyless Keyboard" stated John Williams, noted author and commentator on disability issues. "There is no other product that does what the orbiTouch does. This represents a breakthrough opportunity for millions of people for whom traditional or even modified keyboards just do not work," Williams adds.
Data from the US Bureau of Labour statistics shows that carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and other repetitive stress injuries in the workplace led the pack in median days away from work with an average of 27 days. Average costs per claim vary from US$29,000 to over US$100,000 according to some studies, with the total cost to employers estimated to be in excess of US$1 billion per year. For employers, CTS sufferers and for millions of others with limited use of fingers and wrists, the ability to use a computer represents a new hope for restored productivity and personal growth.
The orbiTouch connects to any IBM PC without any special programs or drivers, and comes with Bluetooth-enabled hardware and software for wireless connectivity. It retails for US$695 and is available from Keybowl.