This Rs 2 device lets the blind ‘read’ Indian currency notes

Brilliant story showing how small frugal innovations make an important impact in people’s lives. That too in area of currency management which is seen as fiefdom of people manning the central banks.

Every time Tiffany, 25, went shopping in Thiruvananthapuram, she ended up getting short-changed –– literally. Shopkeepers who had no qualms about taking advantage of her visual disability would often slip her a ₹10 note and pass it off as a ₹20 note.

When she complained about it to her Bengaluru-based friend and inventor Paul D’Souza, he came up with a solution.  He designed a small credit card-like device made of PVC, with step-down edges on one side. By folding the notes over this tool, a visually challenged person can identify any Indian currency –– thanks to differences in the length and breadth of notes of various denominations.

For instance, if someone wants to confirm if he or she has been given a ₹10 or a ₹20 note (which have the same length but different width), they can fold the note against the device and check if it sticks out on the sides. If it does, it’s a ₹20 note, which is wider. Besides, there are also instructions in braille markings on the device to guide the visually impaired. The ₹5 and ₹1,000 notes, however, don’t fit the template.

Even more nice is to see the inventor naming the device after his friend:

To dedicate the invention to his friend, D’Souza named the device ‘Tiffy’. “The Tiffy template is a clever, original and practical device. The sheer simplicity of the tool is ingenious,” says Ranganathan Thota, founder of, a crowd-funding platform, which is currently raising funds to distribute the device free to the visually impaired .

At just ₹2, the Tiffany template is a shining example of frugal innovation, but it’s got more going for it. “It can help the visually impaired identify currencies much faster than smartphone apps designed for that purpose,” says D’Souza.

Most Indian currency notes have the same width, which renders it difficult for the visually impaired to tell them apart. While every note has a tactile marking that identifies the denomination, they tend to fade out over time with wear and tear.

… With five patents already to his credit, D’Souza is not filing a patent for the Tiffy template. For now, he is just happy to see the smile back on Tiffany’s face.

Wow..Hats off.. What a tribute to friendship and humanity..


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