Revolutionising the ATM

Months ago I commented on a new water fountain design that was at odds with its precedent (that concrete bubbling cylinder contraption). In contrast, this new water fountain resembled the exotic and fun distant relative, as it courteously bowed to those passing by, offering a refreshing jug to those with a thirst. Its distinctiveness and differences appealed to me. This “machine” (at loss for any other definition) excited me as I struggled to establish its initial function – although admittedly this struggle did not last long. However, it was its rebellion against the normal which drew me to write this post. Let me introduce you to the NCR Pillar ATM.

The NCR Pillar ATM is new type of freestanding ATM that features a fingerprint biometric sensor, preset cash buttons, a cash dispenser and receipt printer. Despite its curious appearance (my first impression was that it was a toy), the machine is designed with accessibility and ease in mind, as the user simply presses his thumb on the sensor, pushes the appropriate, color-coded button and ideally walks away with cash and a receipt.

Created for rural areas in developing countries such as India and China, the idea is that it will benefit locals who are unfamiliar with the concept of financial services, and also have problems with literacy. In other words, such a device could also help my granny, who accustomed to cheques and long bank queues, agonises over the immediancy and choices the typical ATM offers (truly and honestly). However, I really admire how this design creatively answers a difficult and also pressing financial challenge as well as social need – minimising the reliance on dodgy loan sharks, while embuing some economic stability. Kerching.

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