Seeing Beyond Darkness With Smart Vision Wallet

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Smart vision wallet is a simple and efficient money counter and a counterfeit detector designed to be used by the visually-impaired and hearing-impaired community. Most machines use an LCD display, and are expensive and difficult to carry. Smart vision wallet is cheaper and comprises lighter and smaller components, reducing it to a size of an ordinary wallet—making it easy to carry.

As money has become extremely important for everyday life, the blind are at a big disadvantage. The visually-impaired community have no security when it comes to cash-related matters, and can be tricked easily. At times, they are even given false or wrong currency notes or the wrong sum total of currency. It is also easy to steal from them.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in consideration for the blind community has introduced symbolic references in newer currency notes, such as Intaglio markings, which can be detected through touch. The main drawback of this feature is that not everyone can easily identify these symbols. The markings are introduced with the belief that everyone who is blind is sensitive to touch and can identify these.

How smart vision wallet helps

The smart vision wallet notifies the user regarding the sum of money counted as a sequence of vibrations and as voice output, which is intended for the hearing-impaired and the visually-impaired, respectively. Having such a device allows them to handle money with utmost confidence and independence.

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There are many products available for the visually-impaired. Radio frequency identification (RFID) utilises electromagnetic fields to carefully exchange information. However, someone standing behind a visually-impaired person in a supermarket queue could quietly extract the latter’s information using silent technology.

A rechargeable smart wallet available in the market is a smart Bluetooth-powered wallet that shields the wallet from getting lost. Such options are great for the common people, but do not address the problems faced by the visually- and hearing-challenged people of the society.

What is smart vision wallet

Smart vision wallet consists of colour sensors, Bluetooth interface, ultraviolet LEDs, microprocessor and vibrator. The microprocessor analyses the data obtained from colour sensors to identify the denomination of the currency. Ultraviolet LEDs, in conjunction with the sensor and microcontroller (MCU), check the authenticity of the currency. After the processing is complete, the device vibrates in a specific sequence and the smartphone connected to the device via the Bluetooth interface gives the sum as voice output to the user.

The vibration sequence is unique for every different denomination of the currency. The device can be concealed as a wallet never giving off its purpose. This guarantees anonymity and a sense of privacy and security to the user.

The embedded system known as the smart vision wallet has been solely created with the desire to assist the blind community to live alongside others as equals. The device has been fashioned in the shape of a common wallet, and weighs about the same. It works by placing the currency notes inside, after pressing a button on the wallet. The components within the wallet scan the currency for their denomination. These also check whether the currency is original or counterfeit.

Output is given via vibrations—a vibration pattern is assigned for each currency denomination—or through audio output. The wallet connects to Android devices via Bluetooth. An Android app has also been developed that works with the device. It helps in scanning the currency or finding the total currency that has been previously scanned.

This system does not require much effort by the user, who only has to place the currency and press the button on the device or the Android app.

Such a device gives the visually-impaired independence in finding the money. It eliminates the need for another person’s help in finding the correct denomination. Information regarding the currency is provided in a discreet manner. Due to the device’s portability feature and the ability to differentiate between real and counterfeit money, it is useful for everyone. It could also incorporate existing technologies used in smart wallets that are currently available in the market.

Features of smart vision wallet

Smart vision wallet has the following features:

  • Currency differentiation
  • Counterfeit detection
  • Notification

Currency differentiation

A smart vision wallet must meet two requirements: affordability and portability. The device should also look like an ordinary wallet. Primary difference between the different denominations of Indian currency is colour. Hence, the most effective and simple means to identify the denominations of Indian currency is the ability to detect these unique differences in colour, and to do that, colour sensors having great precision are required.

Currency identification
Fig. 1: Currency identification

Counterfeit detection

To check the validity of security features implemented in the Indian currency, the smart vision wallet makes use of colour sensors and programmed ATmega328P MCU.

Notifications

The user needs to be informed of the counted sum or the detected counterfeit. The smart vision wallet is designed to be used by the visually-impaired and the hearing-impaired community. There are two ways in which users can be notified: the announcement by a pattern of tones and generation of sequences of vibration. The sequence is different for different denominations.

Notification message
Fig. 2: Notification message

Voice output is designed for the visually-impaired, whereas vibration output is designed for the visually- and hearing-impaired, in addition to being a privacy measure. It is generated using an Android app specifically for the visually-impaired.

The user interface of the app used to generate audio output is designed in such a way that it can be used by the blind with great ease. The app consists of four buttons located at four corners of the screen. This design guarantees ease of use by the visually-impaired. The four buttons are Connect, Scan, Total and Clear.

Fig. 3: Mobile app

The Android app consists of four modules: connection, scanning, computing and resetting. Connection module handles the connection of a smartphone with Arduino. Scanning module sends the scan command to smart vision wallet, retrieves denomination and announces it as voice output.


Dr S. Balakrishnan, Dr Susan Augustine and Dr J.P. Ananth are professors, department of information technology, Sri Krishna College of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore.

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