Back to basics

I have received a number of emails asking to explain the basics of Assistive Technology. Assistive Technology is any device that makes your life easier. We concentrate on computer access and tools but if anyone who is reading this wants to know about different Assistive Technology please email me. If you have any comments or problems please feel free to email me as well. We welcome reader input.

We are going to start with Input Devices. These days Plug and Play devices plug into your USB port and do not need any additional drivers to work. A normal mouse or keyboard is in fact an input device but for this article all our input devices have added value. Today we will showcase the ORBITRACK and for the next few articles we will showcase other input devices and highlight what makes them, perhaps, the device of choice for you as a user with different needs.

The Orbitrack is a revolutionary new input device, which allows computer users to control both the direction and speed of the cursor with a single, soft touch. Requiring no hand or wrist movement the Orbitrack represents a significant advance in computer input technology and is suitable for all computer users, particularly young children and those with motor skill difficulties and movement impairment.

The Orbitrack uses a control ring to electronically manage cursor movement for precise targeting of objects on the computer screen. Unlike a mouse, trackball or joystick no hand or wrist movement is necessary and unlike a touch pad the cursor does not have to be ‘driven’ around the screen by constant finger movement.

In plain English; imagine resting your finger on a specific place on a mouse and not having to press a button and not having to push the mouse around. By placing your finger on the Orbitrack’s grey ‘cursor control ring’ (see picture) you determine what direction the cursor on the screen should move in and even a light touch will ensure the movement of the cursor across the screen. You can also set the speed that you want the cursor to move at. I loved this and think it will work very well indeed.Simply put: anyone with limited movement; who struggles with the backward and forward movement of the fingers and wrist; whose wrist gets very tired or someone who suffers from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome would benefit from using this input device.

However, I also think this device would work for anyone as it makes computer use much easier and would, perhaps, even help to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.


  • Unique cursor control technology
  • Large, 50mm cursor control ring for easy operation and precise targeting
  • Ergonomic design with a sloped case for comfortable wrist positioning
  • Large palm/hand rest area for comfortable operation
  • Symmetrical design allowing use with either hand
  • Soft touch, colour coded buttons (Left/Right, Click, Drag Lock and double Click
  • Buttons easily accessed without the need for hand/wrist movement
  • Soft touch operation (no pressure is required)
  • No moving/wearing mechanical parts
  • Sealed against the ingress of fluids or contaminants
  • Four speed control settings
  • Sockets to allow operation of remote switches and deactivation of Left/Right Click buttons
  • Resettable memory providing an ‘Orientation’ facility, switchable Left and Right Click Buttons, on/off audible alert signals and Smart Acceleration option
  • Smart Track speed control option
  • Auto detecting PS2 and USB protocols
  • Easy plug and play installation (no drivers required)
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • Can be used with switches which plug into the back of the device

Columnist Photos