Proposed by Hugh Sasse, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Diabetes can lead to low vision, through diabetic retinopathy, and limited sense of touch, through neuropathy. People also lose these two senses to some degree with age. This makes distinguishing coins, which are becoming smaller, very difficult. Blind people are able to do this with touch, but if the sense of touch is limited it can be difficult.
A small device is needed which can be kept in a pocket or handbag which will accept a coin in the top, and dispense it through one of a number of marked slots to identify it. The slots could be marked in Jumbo Braille, Moon, and raised letters, depending on space. (Moon is a tactile writing system which uses curved lines to represent letters. It is easier to feel than Braille. Jumbo Braille uses the same code as Braille, but with everything scaled up a bit.)
When touch is limited it is easy to cut oneself without knowing it. There should therefore be no sharp edges on the device.
The input slot should have bevelled edges so that it is easy to insert the coins. Dexterity can decrease with age.
With limited touch it is hard to tell if you have a good grip on something. The device should have a non-slip surface, perhaps ridged.
A wrist strap would prevent it being dropped. If this were made of rubber it should be non-allergenic. The device should be capable of being dropped onto concrete a few times in its life, and trodden on, however!
Because it will be dropped, and because people with severe spasticity might dribble on it, the item should be waterproof and washable.
The markings on the output slots should be in a contrasting colour to enable people with a little sight to use that if they choose.
The coins should be captive in some way when they are delivered to the output, so they don't spill on the floor. The device would be used in shops, pubs and post offices and on buses, so there may not always be a place to put the device on a flat surface.
The device should try to reject foreign coins, buttons and washers that a user could mistake for valid coins.
There should be a minimum of parts to go wrong.
Too many devices for disabled people cost the earth. Price is important. People who have these problems due to age may be pensioners so they won't have much money. It is no good to assume these will be bought by charities for people, they may want to buy them themselves.
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Last Modified on 03-JUN-96 by James Gallagher <James@deafblind.co.uk>