NCR Corp. on Jan. 5 joined with social organizations in India to launch an ATM designed to accommodate the blind.
India-based Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged and the National Association of Visually Handicapped worked with NCR to co-develop the machine, a prototype of which launched on the birthday of Louis Braille. The machine supports all regular functions, including withdrawals and balance enquiries.
Sightless consumers may use the ATM thanks to the auto-guidance software NCR installed in the machine, a spokesperson for the association says. The software reads out the instructions that would normally be displayed on a regular ATM, such as when to enter the PIN. (Some U.S. banks including Wells Fargo offer a similar audio option for the blind on their ATMs.)
The spokesperson was unable to disclose which banks in India would be opting for the ATM, saying NCR would promote and commercialize the machine.
"It is a regular ATM with which one can plug in a regular headphone, listen to receive instructions and operate the keypad on the machine," he says. "Most instructions are audio-enabled while buttons like Enter and Cancel are embossed and codified."
The association and the center recommended that NCR not affix Braille stickers to the numeric keypad because no more than 10% of blind consumers in India could read the script, the spokesperson says.
"For the numeric keypad, instead of Braille we have raised the button for the number 5 with which other numbers can be recognized," he says, adding that for security the ATM will show a sighted person a blank screen during operation.
One-third of all the new ATMs installed in India as of last year must be accessible to the blind under regulations from the Reserve Bank of India.