Japan Today

Ministry of Finance, BOJ to launch smartphone app for visually impaired

By Philip Kendall

The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan have announced that they are working to produce a smartphone application designed to help the visually impaired identify and differentiate between banknotes. The application, which uses a regular, camera-equipped smartphone to scan the surface of bank notes, provides users with audio feedback as well as displaying the value of the cash on screen in large print.

By using an app designed for commercially available smartphones, those with poor vision are able to avoid the hassle of carrying additional devices or implements in order to correctly identify their cash, and can rely on a device that many of us are already accustomed to carrying wherever we go. Although quickly checking the value of our paper money may not seem like an enormous problem to those of us who are blessed with good vision, those who – unfamiliar with the currency – have mistakenly parted with large sums of money while abroad will also attest, even the tiniest mistake when it comes to checking the worth of a note can be devastating.

As part of the “minna ni yasashii shakai” movement that aims to make everyday life as smooth and pleasant as possible for all members of society, the two financial bodies are hoping to release the application by the end of the year.

By holding the smartphone over the bank note, the application analyses the image captured by the unit’s outfacing camera, displaying the amount on screen.

Here’s a video of the prototype application in action. It’s great to see everyday, easily-accessible technology of this kind being used in this way.

Source: Gizmodo Japan

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I'm not understanding this. If you can't read a banknote, then how are you seeing the screen on a smart phone? Maybe it's time to buy better prescription glasses instead?

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The notes are different sizes, aren't they?

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