Broadband and bluetooth extends ATM usefulness

NCR has unveiled an ATM machine that dispenses cash by connecting with a mobile phone or personal digital assistant.

NCR has unveiled an ATM machine that dispenses cash by connecting with a mobile phone or personal digital assistant.

The egg-shaped ATM, code-named Freedom, works without a screen, keyboard or card. Instead, cash withdrawal requests can be typed into a PDA or mobile phone. Consumers then walk up to the ATM, enter a security PIN on the mobile handset and point the handset at the ATM to withdraw the cash.

Freedom, which was showcased to prospective customers in Sydney last week, is also capable of dispensing tickets which could be ordered via a handheld device, and because it can use broadband mobile connections, data such as MP3 files could also be downloaded. It could also act as a printer. Consumer trials are planned later this year.

Freedom is part of research by NCR into how ATMs will work with broadband services in the future. It uses Bluetooth, a specification for establishing short-range radio links among PCs, handheld computers, phones and a variety of other devices within a 10m range. Bluetooth wireless technology was designed in 1994 by two Ericsson employees, Sven Mattisson and Jaap Haartsen.

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