iBill will identify currency for the visually impaired

If you buy something from a link in this article, we may earn a commission. Learn more


The iBill scans US currency in just a couple of seconds and indicates to the user what the denomination of the bill is.  It identifies most bills in less than a second, and it will announce the denomination in a female voice or will use tone and vibration modes for privacy, or you can plug in some earbuds for privacy when using the vocal mode.  iBill recognizes all bills currently in US circulation:  $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.  If a bill can’t be read because of its condition, iBill will indicate it is unidentifiable instead of incorrectly identifying it.

It’s made of polycarbonate for durability, and it’s small enough to carry on your keychain.  iBill uses one AAA battery, which should provide over a year of typical use.    It’s easily upgradable to recognize new banknote designs, too.

iBill is available now from Orbit Research for $119.00.  Beginning January 2, 2015, the US Treasury will begin making the iBill available to eligible blind and visually impaired individuals.  Read more at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing to learn about their currency reader program.

5 thoughts on “iBill will identify currency for the visually impaired”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Before anyone gets pleased that the US Bureau of Printing and Engraving is making these device available for free for the blind and visually impaired, understand that this is simply because the US government has refused to make its currency is different sizes as do so many other countries including the European Union.

    These are the special features that EU notes have with which ones the US also has:

    Different sizes: the higher the value, the bigger the banknote. (No for US)

    Striking colours: neighbouring denominations have clearly contrasting colours. The €5 banknote is grey and the €10 is red. The €20 is blue, followed by an orange €50 and a green €100 banknote. The €200 banknote is yellow-brown, the €500 banknote is purple. (No for US)

    Large value numerals. (Yes for US)

    Raised print, which is easy to feel. (No for US)

    Tactile marks near the edges of the €200 and €500 banknotes. There are no such marks on the €100 banknote, which is of the same width as the higher-value notes. (No for US)

    The United States has done a horrible disservice to those who need to differentiate bank notes.

    This is due to a powerful lobby from vending machine makers.

    And unlike many countries that have moved to plastic substrate which keeps bills in circulation longer, the US government has refused to do that.

    The situation of US currencies is 100 years behind the times.

  3. Oh, one more thing.

    Instead of the federal government paying $119 for the product, there are apps for $10 that do similar things.

    Or the federal government could have created their own app.

  4. Totally true Janet.

    But the whole thing would be moot if the US government had changed the size of the currency and added tactile markings.

  5. I would love if the US made their money in different sizes, but I don’t think it’s likely any time soon. I’m blind and use the Looktel Money Reader; it’s $10 on the app store and simple to use. Any IOS device has Voiceover; tap twice on the money reader app to open it, hold the phone above the bill, and it says the denomination.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *