ATM's Hologram Interface Deters Theft

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Like a prop in a science fiction film, a new ATM model uses 3D images to interact with customers.

Itautec SA developed the technology to improve security. The holographic images do not require users to touch the machine, which can be placed behind a glass wall to prevent tampering.

The Sao Paulo company unveiled the ATM last week at Ciab Febraban 2011, Latin America's largest financial and technology trade show, where it attracted a crowd.

"I almost started selling popcorn in the line," Marcio Dvorkin, Itautec America's general manager, said in a phone interview.

Customers using the ATM gesture left or right or point forward to input instructions. The only thing they would need to touch is the cash the machine dispenses.

Brazilian banks have seen thieves actually blow up ATMs with dynamite, while in the U.S. some thieves take the whole machine. Putting the unit behind a secure wall would deter either type of crime, Dvorkin said.

Itautec also unveiled face-tracking technology, which automatically ends an ATM session if the user walks away or if another person walks up. Even if someone peeks over the user's shoulder, the software recognizes a new face and terminates the session.

Dvorkin said he hopes the 3D technology will be ready for use in ATMs in Brazil within a few years and in the rest of the world soon thereafter.

"It's going to be more expensive" than conventional ATMs, he said, "but we don't expect it to be anything absurdly expensive. We think that the security is going to pay for the difference by itself."

Itautec already has begun a pilot with cash-recycling technology in its ATMs. The machines automatically redirect cash deposits to use for withdrawals. This reduces the need for cash deliveries and pickups by armored truck. Most ATMs conduct cash deposits and withdrawals separately. Dvorkin anticipates the cash-recycling technology will be made available to U.S. clients by the end of the year.

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