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Calls for self-checkout kiosks to be adapted for blind people Updated: 2021-12-04 15:42:43 KST

Convenient for some, but impossible for others.
Cho Hyun-young is a working mother.
She's also visually impaired.
But despite her physical setbacks, she's found her way around most day-to-day tasks without feeling the need to ask others for help.
Except when it comes to using self-checkout kiosks.

"I want to order using the kiosk, can you help me?"

"I tried touching it, but there's no sound. I don't know which button I pressed. I have to ask the staff to help me order."

Self-checkouts are everywhere nowadays.
From fast-food restaurants to convenience stores, airports, and even hospitals.
And some stores even operate completely unmanned.

"Now this is a completely unmanned snack shop, where customers can quickly come in and buy ice cream or snacks at a much lower price using these self-check-out kiosks.
These were a novelty just a few years ago, but now they can be found in every other neighborhood in the city.
But the convenience these shops offer is closed off to a number of groups in society, especially those with visual impairments.
Before the world moves on with its fast-paced technology, it should stop to think who it's leaving behind."

"Self check-out kiosks are inaccessible to us, because they don't give us any information. It's less kind than humans. Also we can't pay, because it doesn't give us any information about paying."

"When ATMs first came out, they had the same problem as self-checkout kiosks. But now we can use them by plugging an earphone into the machine and listening to the sounds. Also we can use our phones so if there's an app we can use to order in restaurants, that'd be better."

We consulted a team that's currently developing Artificial intelligence self-checkouts to ask what kinds of tech are available to make these services more accessible to the blind.

"We've brought in AI voice services to our unmanned self-checkout stores so that people who are blind can easily seek our services. But the problem is that these technologies aren't cheap, so we're still in the development stages."

The Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Act states that all goods and services should offer the same benefits and conveniences to everyone,.. regardless of the state of their ability.
The Korea Blind Union says that this law should be enforced, when it comes to self check-outs as well,.. and accessibility for these services should be ensured for all.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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