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Solar-powered ATMs set to 'go viral'?

Image of people at a Vortex ATM
A Vortex ATM eases banking in a rural village in Tamil Nadu, India.Vortex Engineering

As big-city dwellers in the developed world look forward to futuristic ATM technologies such as one that will dispense cash after reading your palm (no card required), millions of people in the developed world want an ATM that’s simply convenient and reliable. 

Enter solar-powered ATMs from Vortex Engineering, a company based in Chennai, India, that specializes in providing automated tellers to rural locations where electricity is often spotty and the nearest bank is a day’s travel away.

The machines, which were developed with support from the India Institute of Technology, consume 90 percent less power than conventional ATMs, and thus can be economically operated with solar power, the company notes. Security and functionality, it adds, remain uncompromised.

To date, about 450 machines have been installed, primarily in rural locations about 20 to 40 miles from the nearest bank. International expansion is under way and plans call for 10,000 of the ATMs to be installed in the next two years, Yale environment 360 reports

Vortex’s success appears to be an example of one way that solar technology in the developing world is poised to go viral, as U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu predicted in March at the annual summit of the Advanced Projects Research Agency – Energy. 

--Via Yale environment 360 

John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.