Orbit Reader 20 Is A Portable Refreshable Braille Reader

a picture of portable braille reader orbit reader 20 with descriptions for each button.

Have  you heard of digital Braille yet?

Perkins library recently piloted a compact and portable Braille device that will revolutionize the way blind people interact with braille content.

Typically, Braille books are very voluminous and very bulky. To put things into perspective, Leo Tolstoy’s “War & Peace”, which is a total of 14 volumes, is a whopping 74.2 pounds in Braille. If books are generally this bulky, how is a blind person expected to carry them comfortably wherever they go? Also, what if they want to carry multiple books with them?

Orbit Reader 20

That’s where the Orbit Reader 20 comes into the picture! A small, hand held device that can easily slip into a backpack or purse, Orbit Reader 20 has 20 eight dot refreshable Braille cells that display Braille content from books. The books are all loaded on a SD card that is inserted into a slot on the device.

Content is added to the card in two ways – 1) it is either sent to the user by a library or 2) prepared on a computer and copied to the card. A  user can either use the reader as a portable, standalone product, and take it with them wherever they go, or connect it to a computer or tablet with a screen reader to use apps like Kindle, Adobe Digital Edition or iBooks to read commercially  available books in Braille.

How to get electronic Braille Books?

National Library Service (NLS), American Printing House for the Blind (APH), National Braille Press (NBP) and several other sources provide files transcribed into high quality Braille. There are several free translation software like bookshare.org, DAISY Pipeline, and APH’s “Send to Braille” available that make “quick and dirty” conversions to Braille.


The biggest benefit is portability. The Orbit Reader 20 weighs less than a pound but can carry 57.7 metric tons of Braille books in its little SD cards (that’s 127,206 pounds or the equivalent of 1,719 copies of War & Peace). Whether someone’s commuting in a bus or train, or sitting in a public library or park, they will have all of their favorite Braille books literally at their fingertips.


The Orbit Reader 20 will be available soon for the price of $449 + shipping.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

Additional Reading: Orbit Reader 20,  Reader 20 Details

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