Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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card reader

Read card number from raised text
 
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The magnetic strips on credit cards, loyalty cards, and such never work for long. When they give out, the person behind the counter usually ends up typing out the raised numbers on the card.

It would be easy to make something that felt the raised numbers on the cards as they were swiped. You would only need three feelers at different heights.

Richard K, Dec 03 2002

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       I don't think this would be easy to do and seems a bit Irish anyhow. I find that credit cards work perfectly for years if you treat 'em right.
sild, Dec 03 2002
  

       More and more card applications are moving to contactless chips now, so mag strips are going to be pretty much redundant before long.
angel, Dec 03 2002
  

       I guess I mean "non-optimal in the logic department". No offence meant - I'm pairt oirish meself.
sild, Dec 03 2002
  

       // I don't think this would be easy to do and seems a bit Irish anyhow. I find that credit cards work perfectly for years if you treat 'em right. //   

       You lie, hu-mon ! Mine "swipe out" in just a few months ......   

       Maybe there could be a little pattern of holes punched through the raised numbers that could be read by an optical scanner.   

       NB Category suggestion - "Public: Money" ?
8th of 7, Dec 03 2002
  

       As [waugs] pointed out, the mag strip contains more than just the card number. What problem are we trying to solve here? If it's worn-out mag strips, you can forget any method of reading the embossed numbers. The (baked) solution is to put the mag-strip's data in a chip.
angel, Dec 03 2002
  

       Hey, hey, hey, we aren't trying to read all the data on the magnetic strip - there is about 2k bits on that - enough for a small JPEG of the user on that, or a good compressed signature. Just the raised numbers that the cards already have, which is what people type in anyway.
Richard K, Dec 04 2002
  

       That's the way it used to be done
thumbwax, Dec 04 2002
  
      
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