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How Blind People Identify Paper Money
Before you pay for a movie ticket or for a new pair of shoes, you would always make sure you’re handing the seller the right amount. This is really simple, you just have to give a quick look at your money, take out the right amount, and that's it.
But for people who cannot see, this becomes a difficult task. Here, we will talk about the problem faced by blind people, and discuss the possible solutions for this issue.
The Problem with Paper Money
In countries such as the U.S., all denominations of money have similar sizes. This makes it very difficult for blind people to distinguish one denomination from another.
Solutions Done By Governments
Governments have devised a way to help the blind tell apart different money denominations. In countries such as Australia and Malaysia, each denomination of money has a distinct width and length. Along with this, blind people can use a small card device to quickly measure and distinguish money.
Meanwhile, a more specific approach has been done by the Canadian government. In Canada, money is being produced such that there are Braille dots in the bills that represent a specific denomination. Blind people can in turn find the corner containing the Braille dots and read them to know the amount they are holding.
Solutions Done By Blind People
The above steps made by governments can be very helpful, but as we have seen, not all countries have implemented such solutions. So, here are the possible ways which blind people themselves can do to identify money.
Blind people can fold a denomination of money in a particular way. For instance, a $1 bill can be left unfolded. A $5 bill can be folded crosswise. A $10 bill can be folded lengthwise. For larger denominations, combinations of the two previous folding patterns can be used.
This can be a good solution to quickly know the amount of a specific bill. However, blind people have to first depend on sighted persons to tell them the money they are about to fold. Also, blind people may end up having bent and wrinkled paper money. In general, most of us want to keep our bills flat and crisp.
A Wallet with Many Dividers
Wallets with around for to five divisions enable blind people to place each denomination in a separate place. This works most of the time. But it can also become confusing when blind persons would sort through many denominations.
Scanners and Assistive Technology
Blind persons can use a regular scanner and an assistive technology known as a screen reader. To do this, the user would scan the money via the scanner. Then he can let the screen reader speak the text in the money that has been captured by the scanner.
This may be an effective means of identifying money. However, you can only do it at home where you have your scanner and computer. This option would be very hard to do if for instance, you are in a shopping mall and you need to know how much money you have.
Special Software for Mobile Phones
This is one of the newest solutions in the market. The user first has to install a specialized software on his mobile camera phone. Then the user can take a picture of the bill and let the software speak its denomination.
This can be quite convenient, but these software normally recognize only frequently used currencies such as the US dollar. Also, not all mobile phones are compatible with this type of program.
Electronic Money Identifiers
This device is made specially for blind people to distinguish different denominations of money. The user first has to insert the bill into the device or place it near a component of the device. Then it would recognize and speak the bill’s denomination. Certain electronic money identifiers even have vibrating features which are useful for deaf-blind people.
Although these devices may solve the problem, they usually cannot identify bent and wrinkled money. Also, blind people first have to make sure they are inserting or pointing the bill the right way before the device can read it.
Different people use different means of identifying money without seeing it. Each solution has its own pros and cons. Nevertheless, it would certainly help if money, such as the US dollar, can be identified easily just by touching it.