The range of tasks that modern smart phones can take care of is truly staggering, but it is probably a safe bet that nobody ever thought a phone would be counting the money in their wallet. Now, however, that is precisely what some cell phones will be able to do. The US government has funded and produced a cell phone app intended to assist the blind as well as individuals with less severe visual impairments to know how much money they are currently carrying.
A drawback of paper money is that all the bills feel approximately the same, which means that a blind person traditionally had no way to know if they were handling a $1 bill or a $100 bill. This had obvious disadvantages, so much so that some famous blind performers such as Ray Charles insisted on being paid in $1 bills so that it would be more difficult to cheat him of his full pay. The new app solves this problem by using the on-board camera in a cell phone to scan the currency. The phone then announces aloud what denomination of currency it is ‘looking’ at.
The app runs on Android devices, which may well mean that some individuals will soon be asking, “Where can I sell my iPhone?” The app was produced jointly by the US Treasury and the Department of Education and it is free of charge.