• Solar power to ease cash woes

    Solar power expert and scientist S P Gon Chaudhuri is developing a prototype of a biometric solar-powered ATM, which would enable users to withdraw cash just by getting their fingerprints scanned. The ATM, if successfully designed and implemented, would be of great help to unlettered users, as it would do away with the practice of having to provide a PIN, which is challenging for many, especially in rural areas.

    The model would just require the linking of Aadhar numbers with a user’s bank account, said Gon Chaudhuri, adding he especially had the rural populace in mind. “This is the major part of the country’s population, of which many are unlettered and have to withdraw money from banks and post offices using thumb prints. They are unable to use ATMs, which work by using a card and inputting a four-digit PIN, and are in desperate need of an ATM that would be compatible with their level of understanding,“ said the scientist who has come up with several innovations that have been recognized by the ministry of new and renewable energy . He felt the device would be equally effective in urban areas.

    “The biometric touch interface-based ATM that I am developing will also be user-friendly and, at the same time, avoid the use of cards, PIN and paper. The ATM will also be energy-efficient and environment-friendly , as it requires only solar energy to operate. Various security measures are being implemented. This ATM could be used by anyone having an Aadhar-linked bank account,“ Gon Chaudhuri said.

    The procedure to withdraw money using this device would be very simple, the scientist said. “One would only have to press his or her finger on the scanner installed in the machine, following which the person’s bank account would automatically be linked through Aadhar linking. Pictures of various currency notes would then come up on screen, and the user would have to touch the onscreen picture one or multiple times, depending on how much heshe wants to withdraw. After the notes come out, the balance would be read out,“ Gon Chaudhuri said. The device will have a solar panel on the top. Gon Chaudhuri plans to complete setting up the first prototype by March, following which he plans to show the device to the Government of India. “ As of now, each unit costs Rs 4 lakh. But the price will come down once mass-production starts,“ he said. Mark Bavaro Jersey

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