[nfb-talk] U.S. Department of Education Announces New App to Identify U.S. Currency to Assist Individuals who are Blind

Sheri Anderson sheri.k.anderson at gmail.com
Fri Oct 12 13:30:48 UTC 2012

Good morning Fellow Federationists,

Just sharing the below information.


U.S. Department of Education Announces New App to Identify U.S. Currency
U.S. Treasurer Applauds Department of Education’s Accessibility Effort
October 9, 2012

Timothy Muzzio, Education Department, (202) 245-7458
Darlene Anderson, Treasury, (202) 874-2229

The U.S. Department of Education announced today the launch of the
“IDEAL Currency Identifier,” a free downloadable application (app) to
assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired to denominate
U.S. currency on some mobile devices.
The IDEAL Currency Identifier was developed by IDEAL Group, IQ
Engines, and the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center
(RERC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology through a grant from the
Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and
Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), a component of the Office of Special
Education and Rehabilitative Services. NIDRR is the primary U.S.
government agency focused on disability and rehabilitation research.
Its mission is to generate research knowledge and assistive
technologies while promoting their effective use in improving the
abilities and opportunities of individuals with disabilities in
performing activities of their choice in the community. The initiative
supports the Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing
(BEP) in its mandate to provide increased access to U.S. currency for
persons who are blind and visually impaired.
Dr. Charlie Lakin, the Director of NIDRR, issued the following
statement: “Through our dialogue with the BEP, a special opportunity
emerged to fulfill our mission in support of persons who are blind and
visually impaired. The IDEAL Currency Identifier uses advanced image
recognition technology to read a note and, in a matter of seconds,
provides users with an audible response indicating the note’s
Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios applauded the Department of
Education’s role in the app’s development. “Treasury is committed to
providing meaningful access to U.S. currency and, by using technology,
we can help hundreds of thousands of individuals who are blind or
visually impaired. Our collaboration with the Department of Education
allowed us to be resourceful and, in turn, more individuals will have
the means to independently denominate the U.S. currency they use in
daily commerce.”
The app, which interacts with Google’s “Eyes-Free” applications, can
be downloaded for free on more than 1,250 different wireless devices.
The IDEAL Currency Identifier was developed by Apps4Android, Inc., a
subsidiary of IDEAL Group that develops mobile applications.
Android-based devices are produced by 48 manufacturers and distributed
by 60 wireless service providers in 136 countries.
This new app is one of several measures the government is developing
to assist people with vision impairments to denominate currency. In
April 2011, the BEP introduced EyeNote®, a similar currency reading
mobile app. There have been more than 8,000 free downloads of the
EyeNote® app since its introduction.
In May 2011, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner approved three measures
to provide accessibility to U.S. currency for those who are blind or
visually impaired. These measures include implementing a Currency
Reader Program to distribute a currency reader device to blind and
visually impaired U.S. citizens; continuing to add large high-contrast
numerals and different background colors to redesigned currency the
BEP may lawfully change; and adding a raised tactile feature to U.S.
currency unique to each U.S. Federal Reserve note that BEP may
lawfully change, which would provide users with a means of identifying
each denomination via touch. For more information about the IDEAL
Currency Identifier and other accessibility apps, please visit

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