My Experience Using iNote/Free Money Identifier for iOS

First, let me provide a bit of introductory material for my sighted readers who may not fully know about the usefulness of iOS devices for visually impaired users. In addition to the voice assistant known as Siri, Apple’s iOS devices includes a feature or program called Voiceover. This is known as a screen reader, which allows us to review and interact with items on the device’s touchscreen. iOS contains many useful apps which offers many features which are of importance to visually impaired users. You can visit Apple’s page on iOS accessibility to learn more. You can also visit Web sites such as Applevis to learn more about how Apple products and apps benefit the visually impaired.
iNote is the free currency identifier from the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing. It’s available via the app store on your device or you can
use iTunes to locate and download it.
My wallet had gotten a bit disorganized and I was about to ask someone
at work to identify a bill for me. Suddenly, I thought, “wait a minute,
I have my iPhone” and I loaded iNote to see how it worked.
If you don’t read any of the instructions, using iNote won’t be obvious,
even though the interface is amazingly simple. As is typical for me, I
did not bother to read the instructions and couldn’t make heads or tails
of how to read my money, no pun intended. After floundering around for
a while, I decided to read the manual, which I located by doing a Google
search, which led me to the BEP’s Web page for the iNote app. I don’t
actually think that they placed an actual manual within the app, and
doing so would have been helpful.
Anyway, what I discovered, after reading some of the manual, is that,
once it’s actually loaded, iNote continuously scans for bills to
identify. Therefore, there’s no real need to look for a “take picture”
or “read my bill” button to activate the camera. You just hold the
phone above the bill, wait 5-10 seconds and iNote will tell you the
denomination, as well as the word “front” or “back”, which is pretty nifty.
It’s important to make sure that your location has some decent lighting
and that you raise the phone six to eight inches above the bill. What
worked for me was placing the bill flat on a desk in a horizontal
position. Next, I held the phone above the bill, also in the same
horizontal position.
iNote can also use tones to identify your money rather than speech
output and it can also provide feedback using vibration, which would be
essential for deaf-blind users who don’t own a Braille display. I
haven’t yet tried the Looktell Money Identifier but iNote is free and
seems to work well for me. I’ve been told that Looktell is able to identify currency from other countries but this isn’t a feature that I need. If you’ve used either of these apps, I’d be interested to read your comments.

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One thought on “My Experience Using iNote/Free Money Identifier for iOS

  1. David:

    I’ve used the Look Tell Money Identifier with my iPod Touch. It’s very quick, recognizing ccurrency as quickly as you can put it under the device. Now, if there was a decent app for ocr. Ive tried several with equally terrible results. Possibly because the camera in an iPod isn’t as good as the one in an iPhone? – Rob Stemple

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