In Silicon Valley, it’s never too early to become an entrepreneur. A great example is 13-year-old Shubham Banerjee, Braigo’s developer.
The world’s cheapest Braille printer got started with a simple e-mail. Seeing a letter soliciting donations for the blind, Shubham Banerjee, at the time 12 years old, asked his parents how blind people read. They suggested he Google it and then he saw some Braille printers, costing more than $1,800. So he set out to make a cheaper alternative using LEGOs.
Developed by Shubham Banerjee, a 7th grade student from Santa Clara, California. BRAIGO is a Braille Printer using Lego Mindstorms EV3. This concept crashes the price of a printer from more than $2000 to around $350 for education, teaching and home use purposes, giving a more cost-effective printer for the disadvantaged ones.
Banerjee said he wanted to make it very cheap and easy to do it yourself. Newspapers picked up on the project and he went on to win at the county fair level. Children who were blind and their parents started
contacting Shubham, asking if he could make a printer they could buy off the shelves. He came up with the idea that involved the clever use of a $350 Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit along with a few dollars worth of hardware from Home Depot.
He took a basic pattern for a printer and reworked it with new software and hardware enhancements to print out letters in Braille. The result ? The so-called “Braigo”. Using parts from a desktop printer and an Intel chip with WiFi and Bluetooth, Shubham made a prototype and then presented it to Intel.
The Braigo’s controller is set up to scroll through the alphabet. You choose a letter and it prints it out with tactile bumps on a roll of calculator paper. The print head is actually a thumbtack, which Banerjee settled on after also testing a small drill bit and a mechanical pencil.
The final model, planned for release at the end of 2015, will sell for less than $500, making it the first and the only -low-cost Braille printer.
Nowadays, Braigo Labs has hired professionals to work on the project and has enlisted an industrial design firm to help develop a product that can be manufactured, according to Banerjee. Also, Braigo Building instructions and software links are now available for FREE DOWNLOAD on the internet as Shubham Banerjee promised.
Here is a video of the instalation process and using tips for Braigo: