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Updated: December 22, 2013 01:08 IST

‘Talking ATM’ helps them feel empowered

Staff Reporter
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Far-reaching: The first ‘talking ATM’, to help persons with visual impairments, being inaugurated in Bangalore on Saturday.
Far-reaching: The first ‘talking ATM’, to help persons with visual impairments, being inaugurated in Bangalore on Saturday.

The first ‘talking ATM’ was launched here on the NIFT college premises

On Saturday, the city got its first ‘talking ATM’, an automated teller machine kiosk that is equipped with a Braille keypad with raised dots and bilingual audio support to guide persons with visual impairments.

The first to use the ATM, owned by Union Bank and located on the NIFT college premises in HSR Layout, was Madhu Singhal, managing trustee of Mitra Jyothi, who has been lobbying for the facility for some time now. The kiosk is near Mitra Jyothi, and she hopes it will be the first of many. When she first attempted to use the audio facility, the headphones didn’t work. After having got to a rough start however, things worked smoothly after she was given fresh headphones.

Accessibility

After withdrawing cash from the ATM, for the first time on her own with no guidance or support, she said this was a “great moment for the visually-challenged in the city”. “We will now be able to withdraw money ourselves. People coming to Mitra Jyothi to learn and to get trained to get jobs will be greatly benefited. Everything should be made more accessible to the physically challenged. There should be more talking ATMs all over the city like near railway stations, bus stops and organisations like Mitra Jyothi,” she said.

After her, several others queued up to use it, and most described their experience as one that made them feel independent and empowered.

It was inaugurated by L.D. Rewatkar, deputy general manager of Union Bank of India.

How it works

The visual disability-friendly component comprises of raised dots on a standard telephone matrix keypad and audio support.

The bilingual orientation of the ATM also caters to those who can’t speak English.

A release from Mitra Jyoti said the machine has an interface that allows first-time users to learn the different keys and slots on their own with the help of the machine.

It also has the “skip” option so experienced users can skip it and perform the ATM operation quickly.

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