The minute you sit and dissect our world and how much of it relies on an innate visual understanding of things, is the minute you realize how unfriendly the world is for the visually impaired. Credit cards don’t come with braille markings, and QR codes are innately visual, and require cameras that are controlled visually too… So how would blind people make payments or receive money from friends or family? Technology seldom designs itself for the minority, which is why devices like Shimmer really make a difference. A winner of the iF Design Award, Shimmer is a neck-worn contactless payment terminal that allows visually impaired people to make and accept payments. The device comes with a braille keyboard, an easy-to-activate and user-friendly camera, and a screen that displays a QR code to facilitate accepting payments.
Designer: Hefei LCFC Information Technology
A purpose-built device made especially for the visually impaired, the Shimmer sits around its user’s neck, letting them spend or receive money without needing traditional solutions that aren’t accessible to them. The device comes with a handy design that features a braille keypad on one end, and a screen on the other. A parting line running along the middle allows you to separate the upper and lower halves to reveal a camera too. The camera helps scan QR codes and make payments, while the display shows a QR code of its own while receiving payments. The braille keypad also has a built-in fingerprint scanner to help authenticate payments too, making it easy and secure to use.
“Mobile payment is very popular in Asia, but the current most common method of using a smartphone is not friendly to the blind as it requires screen reading software, which is cumbersome to operate and potentially exposes private data,” say the designers at Hefei LCFC Information Technology. The Shimmer helps these people keep up with the technological requirements of urban life in today’s world, because online payments need to be overwhelmingly inclusive.
The Shimmer makes some really clever design decisions to help the visually impaired stay up-to-date with current technology. For starters, it comes with a beautifully sleek design and a metallic finish that lends the wearer a keen sense of style. The handheld unit of the Shimmer is easy to use, with a braille keyboard and fingerprint sensor that’s virtually foolproof, and a hideaway camera that adds another layer of security. The Shimmer’s band straps around your neck and comes with built-in earphones too, allowing the user to get audio confirmations of payments made or received!
The Shimmer is a Winner of the iF Design Award for the year 2022.