RBI to launch a mobile app to help visually impaired identify currency

By Sameer Mitha | Published on Jul 16 2019
RBI to launch a mobile app to help visually impaired identify currency

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HIGHLIGHTS

The RBI is said to launch a mobile application to help visually challenged people in identifying currency notes.

Such an app already exists in early access on the Play Store.

PTI has reported that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will launch a mobile application to help the visually-challenged identify currency notes. At present, there are Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 200, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes in circulation. There is also Rs 1 notes issued by the Centre. According to the PTI report, “The RBI has been sensitive to the challenges faced by the visually challenged in conducting their day-to-day business with Indian banknotes,” said the central bank. At present, Intaglio printing-based identification marks are present on Rs 100 and above notes to help the visually challenged identify banknotes.

The mobile app that is proposed would be able to identify the denomination of notes. This will be done by capturing an image of the notes by a mobile phone camera. The RBI is inviting bids from tech firms to develop the app.

It is strange that the RBI is inviting bids from tech firms when such an app already exists. Back in January, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar, had developed an app to help the visually impaired recognise currency notes. The app can recognise both old and new notes and gives audio information as to which note you are holding in your hands. The application is called Roshni and is free on the Google Play Store. The claim is that Roshni is the first Android app to successfully recognise new INR currency notes. The new currency notes came into effect after the recent demonetisation ordered by Indian Prime Minister Modi. We now have Rs 2,000 notes while the old Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 200 and Rs 500 got a refresh. 

We spent some time with the beta version of Roshni back in January and you can check out our impressions of the app and a walkthrough of how it functions here.

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Sameer Mitha

Sameer Mitha lives for gaming and technology is his muse. When he isn’t busy playing with gadgets or video games he delves into the world of fantasy novels.

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