Braille printers are the only way to print text-to-braille for blind people to read, but unfortunately, they're extremely expensive. Right now, the price of an average braille printer is around $2,000.
Inspired to lower the cost for blind people, Shubham Banerjee, a middle school student from California, managed to design the same product for only $350. His project is now one of 16 start-ups to get picked up by Intel Capital - the US-based technology giant’s investment arm.
Using Lego robotics and a few parts from a local home renovations store, Banerjee set out to build an affordable braille printer for a science fair project. But his invention didn’t end there - Banerjee’s project attracted so much attention that he was invited to present his prototype at the White House, where it was noticed by Intel.
Banerjee named his invention ‘Braigo’ and began working on a more advanced version, which uses 3D-printed parts and Intel's Edison chip - a tiny computer which powers the device. With funding from his parents, he started producing his braille printers at the low cost of $350 from Braigo Labs, his own facility in California.
In September this year, Banerjee was invited to present his model at an Intel conference, where they announced that Intel Capital would be funding his start-up venture.
The invention has been praised by representatives from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), who said that the high cost of Braille printers is hindering their potential. "We welcome investment in technology that aims to improve everyday life for blind and partially sighted people, and especially applaud this brilliant initiative from such a young entrepreneur," Clive Gardiner, RNIB's head of reading and digital services, told BBC News.
Banerjee plans to use the funding to build a more advanced prototype and hopes to test it in the blind community. Right now, the young entrepreneur is set on finishing school, and will continue his project as an after-school hobby.
Source: BBC News