Subasree Rameshan, B.Optom
Optometrist, Low Vision Care Clinic, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, India
Keywords: Low vision, Money management, braille money
According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of Visual Impairment (VI) worldwide is estimated to be 285 million. For people with visual impairment (PVI), quickly recognising money both when paying and receiving is supreme. Recent days, everyone has mobile and makes digital payments/ internet banking using talk-back options. However, at certain occasions digital payments will not be possible and PVI must transact with cash in common scenarios like shopping vegetables from a street vendor, hiring an auto or public transport, or receiving money from an ATM. There are a few more golden solutions for them, which are still practiced by few PVI around the world. (1-3)
- Low vision devices
A simple good lighting along with a spectacle magnifier will help most of the PVI to easily identify money. Even digital video magnifiers can magnify the denomination of a currency note.
- Tactile patterns/ dots
PVI usually can identify the braille dots/ patterns by simply using their own tactile cues. In some countries like Canada, money has groups of braille dots at the corner which indicates the value of the bill. Other countries, like Brazil create tactile marks on each note, which doesn’t resemble braille dots. Netherlands was first to create these types of notes in 1971.
- Folding money
PVI can recognise currency notes by folding them differently. This requires the help of a sighted person but once prepared, it is possible to organise money for future identification. E.g.: $5 can be folded width wise, $10 in length wise. This is a good solution to quickly recognise the denomination of the money.
- Money identifier cards and NOTEX
In countries such as India, Australia each currency note has unique length. There are small money identifier cards to quickly measure and differentiate between currencies. The currency is lined up with the card, tactile marks on the card will identify which money is used based on the length. Similarly, money is identified based on the height with NOTEX (as shown in Fig 1).
Figure 1: Illustrating the most widely used low vision devices and techniques for currency identification (1-3)
- Wallet with dividers
Wallets with many divisions enable PVI to place each denomination in a separate place. It takes some time to sort through many denominations.
- Money Identifier tools
In United States all denominations of money have identical sizes.(3) Money identifier tools play an important role here, the user must insert the currency into the device in a particular way, then it will provide information about the currency, either by talk back, combination of beeps or vibration. The bad quality notes are harder to identify. E.g.: iBill Banknote identifier.
- Money identifier apps
There are various applications that uses camera to check currency. Based on algorithms and a database of bank notes, it recognizes and announces the value using speech. They also vary in quality. E.g.: MANI, ROSHNI app
- Identifying coins
Coins can be identified by tactile cues. They have smooth edges, ridged edges, different sizes, thickness, designs on them. PVI can also use separate labeled containers, organizers, multi pocket coin purses.
- https://blindcoincollector.com/2019/02/18/how-blind-people-identify-paper-money/ [last accessed on 15, sep 2022]
- https://mrane.com/portfolio/currency-design/ [last accessed on 15, sep 2022]
- https://visionaware.org/everyday-living/essential-skills/money-management/identifying-money-5986/ [last accessed on 15, sep 2022]