Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New iBill electronic banknote identifier hits the mark on many fronts

One of the first questions I had after realizing that I was blind was, "How will I be able to tell my dollar bills apart?" I soon learned about electronic bill identifiers, but they seemed large and cumbersome, not to mention still rather expensive. As a matter of fact, I used to say that I've not found a note teller for the blind which I thought was both practical and affordable.

However, that's all changed, if what I read is to be believed.

Orbit Research
has introduced the iBill talking banknote identifier

The iBill is built on a key-fob design, measuring only 3.0 x 1.6 x 0.7 inches and weighs 1.5 oz. It runs on a single AAA battery which should last more than a year, according to Orbit Research. The unit should be easy enough to operate as it has only two buttons. And, the brochure claims most bills are recognized in less than 1 second, with an accuracy rate of better than 99.9%.

That takes care of the logistics, size and speed. So, what about the price for this electronic wizardry?

Get this, its only $99. That's right, less than a hundred bucks.

I felt that Humanware found the correct pricing threshold when they introduced the Victor Reader Stream. At the introductory price they delivered a quality assistive technology product for an affordable cost in what is all too often an over-priced market, one where the consumers are often on limited incomes. If the iBill is as good as advertised, then Orbit Research might have done the same here.

I'm just writing this based on the literature and haven't actually tried one out. I'd love to take one of these for a test spin and introduce it to some of my peers and colleagues, and see what their thoughts are. Perhaps, I might be able to get a review unit from Orbit Research. Stay tuned and I'll let you know of any future interaction with one of these units.