by Gayle Yarnall
In the United States, identifying money has been an ongoing issue for many people who are visually impaired. At one time I could just barely see the numbers on a bill. However, for the past 15 years I have been at the mercy of trusting people to give me the right change and then remembering to fold the money and put it in the right pockets in my wallet. Last year I started using the iBill from Orbit Research. I had seen other such products, but the price seemed too high and, at least as far as I knew, I was not getting shortchanged. I also have an iPhone, and I know there are money identification apps for it, but I just can't get to the point where I can read the bill fast enough. I am also getting older and want everything to be easy as possible.
The iBill allows me to take the fistful of bills I shove in my pocket or purse and easily sort them. I can also check my change, although honestly, I still trust people to give me the right change and usually wait until I am putting the money away to make sure it is correct.
Now there is a new iBill, and they have made some great changes to it. There is a raised bevel around the buttons. This means your purse won't suddenly start saying "error" because something bumped the buttons. They have also changed the way the money is inserted. Instead of sliding it into both sides of the unit, you now have only one closed side. You feed the bill into something that looks like a money clip. A small ring is attached near one corner. You can attach a keychain to this ring. And there is a leather case for the iBill, too; it has a loop that enables you to put it on your belt or the strap of your backpack or purse. There is a headphone jack so you can use your iBill in complete privacy. Even better, the highest setting on the volume is much louder. This will make it easier to hear how much money you have or don't have.
The iBill can now better serve a wider range of people. The vibration mode makes the unit usable for someone who is deaf-blind. The addition of a headphone makes using the unit completely private for anyone and more usable for someone with hearing loss. The louder volume makes it easier for someone like me who is feeling the effects of age-related hearing loss. Until the U.S. changes its money in some way so it can be identified by everyone, the iBill is an easy-to-use solution.