Blind Boy's Campaign Changing Australia's Cash

Nation will add tactile features so bills can be told apart
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2015 5:34 PM CST
This March 13, 2014 photo released by Australian Federal Police shows thousands of dollars of Australian money.   (AP Photo/Australia Federal Police)

(Newser) – Australia is redesigning its cash and adding a tactile feature so blind people can tell the bills apart. And as the nation's ABC News reports, the pending change is largely thanks to a 13-year-old kid named Connor McLeod. He launched a campaign and online petition that gained steam and culminated with him making a personal pitch to the Reserve Bank of Australia. Connor, who has been blind since birth, says the idea came to him when he got cash for Christmas. "I kept having to ask Mum what they had given me," he recalls.

He says he generally uses coins when he needs money, "and then it just sort of hit me that my life isn't going to be all coins, so I thought I'd better make things a little easier, and easier for others as well." No word on when the new notes will be introduced, but don't expect anything like that for American cash anytime soon, reports NPR. While the Treasury Department has floated the idea in years past, it unveiled an alternative last month in the form of a currency reader. People who are visually impaired can carry around the device, insert the bills, and hear the denomination identified. Various apps, like so and so, can do the same.

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