Indian-origin Boy Builds Braille Printer, Starts company

  • Indian-origin 13-year-old Shubham Banerjee, the California eighth-grader has launched a company to develop low-cost machines to print Braille, the tactile writing system for the visually impaired.
  • Tech giant Intel Corp recently invested in his start-up, Braigo Labs.
  • Shubham built a Braille printer with a Lego robotics kit as a school science fair project last year after he asked his parents a simple question: How do blind people read? “Google it,” they told him.
  • Shubham then did some online research and was shocked to learn that Braille printers, also called embossers, cost at least $2,000, too expensive for most blind readers, especially in developing countries.
  • Shubham, demonstrated how his printer works at the kitchen table, where he spent many late nights building it with a Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit.
  • Shubham wants to develop a desktop Braille printer that costs around $350 and weighs just a few pounds, compared with current models that can weigh more than nine kg.
  • The machine could be used to print Braille reading materials on paper, using raised dots instead of ink, from a personal computer or electronic device.
  • Shubham, who lives in the Silicon Valley suburb of Santa Clara, just minutes away from Intel headquarters said: My end goal would probably be having most of the blind people using my Braille printer.