Teen Invents Affordable Braille Printer Using Legos

Jan 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm |

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You’re never too old to make a groundbreaking invention, but it seems that you’re never too young either.

California middle schooler Shubham Banerjee is just 13, yet he’s already started a technology company dedicated to making affordable and portable printers of Braille that could dramatically impact literacy in the blind community.

Banerjee built the original prototype for his invention using a robotics kit and Legos. His design has won him many awards as well as praise for the socially beneficial nature of the project. With a $35,000 investment from his dad, Shubham went on to found Braigo Labs. The name combines the words “Lego” and “Braille”— the tactile writing system named for Louis Braille who invented the coded alphabet in 1824 when he was only 15.

What started as a school science project has turned into a promising innovation for technology for the blind. Shubham moved on to make a newer model of his creation using a regular printer and an Intel computer chip. Intel Corporation — his father’s employer — has since invested in Shubham’s startup, making the boy the youngest entrepreneur to receive venture capital from them.

According to Edward Ross, director of Inventor Platforms at Intel, “He’s solving a real problem, and he wants to go off and disrupt an existing industry. And that’s really what it’s all about.”

At the moment, Braille printers — called embossers — are often very expensive and inconveniently heavy. Braigo Labs hopes to have an affordable and lightweight printer on shelves by late 2015. Shubham’s invention could facilitate the use of technology within the blind community — an estimated 39 million people worldwide — especially those in third world countries.

Hopefully this 13-year-old inspires you to turn your own dreams into reality…