Lithuanian company aims to improve ATM access for the blind in Eastern Europe

In the United States, it's assumed that all ATMs accommodate visually impaired users, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This is not the case in many other parts of the world, but BS/2, the banking technologies subsidiary of Lithuania-based Penki Kontinentai Group, is working to bring its "talking ATM" solution to FIs in Lithuania.

According to a company press release, BS/2 has already introduced a similar product at banks in the nation of Georgia.

The BS/2 solution allows a blind ATM user to plug a headset into the machine and hear step-by-step instructions on how to use the device, voiced in the national language by the speech synthesizer for the Windows platform. Inscriptions on the ATM and keypad use Braille and tactile universal symbols.

According to BS/2, the device's screen can be darkened or turned off so that others cannot see a transaction. Additionally, the company said, its ATMeye.iQ video surveillance system can serve as a deterrent to crime by providing a visual record of both the transaction and other activity around the ATM.

Ramune Balčikonienė, deputy chairman of the Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired in Lithuania, said in the release that such ATMs are especially needed at railway and bus stations and pedestrian streets in downtown Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

"We hope that the banks in Lithuania will also begin to implement these technologies and consult with us not only about the ATM operating principles, but about their locations as well, for not all of them might be convenient for the blind," she said.

Topics: ATM Innovation

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