Little do people know that up to 800,000 Malaysians are partially sighted, while approximately 95,000 are blind. In order to improve accessibility for visually-impaired members of the community, the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) has joined forces with ATLAS Vending to launch the first Braille-enabled vending machines in Malaysia.
Through this pilot project, 11 vending machines have been deployed across the Klang Valley, which was also certified by the Malaysia Book of Records. Public transport commuters may have noticed the unique vending machines (equipped with braille plates) at some Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations and around the Brickfields area.
“For us at ATLAS Vending, we are extremely delighted that this collaboration has come into fruition after months of working with the team at MAB – from conceptualisation to prototype testing, and to the actual rollout. At each step, the feedback and suggestions from the MAB team were studied and incorporated to ensure that the final design of the machines would be truly convenient for visually-impaired customers. Details such as the spoken speed of the audio instructions and colours of the indicator lights were crucial guidance for us, helping the ATLAS Vending technology team improve the physical design and software features. At ATLAS Vending, we’ve been in the business of dispensing delight for the past 40 years, so this initiative to improve inclusivity by progressively increasing accessibility using technology is another milestone for us,” said Amy Gan, Head of Marketing & Ancillary Business, ATLAS Vending.
George Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of MAB added: “At MAB, it is part of our organisation’s aim to educate and create equal opportunities for visually-impaired persons, to enable them to enjoy the same quality of life as the sighted. We are pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate with ATLAS Vending on such assistive technology for vending machines. People do not realise that without such technology designed for our visually-impaired members, they face barriers in performing seemingly simple tasks that sighted persons may not give a second thought to, like purchasing a can of drink from a vending machine without assistance.”
These special vending machines not only offers audio-guided instructions for purchasing drinks, but also cash and cashless payment options.