“A 13-year-old boy from California has secured funding from Intel to bring a low-cost Braille printer to market.”
The actual sum is not known, but according to Reuters News Agency, they are a”few hundred thousand dollars”. The limelight fell upon this teen when he exhibited his prototype version made out of a Lego kit, at the White house (age 12).
Although the users might be in minority, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) estimates that about 4% of visually impaired children and young people in England currently use it. Even so, charity greeted the news!
“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,” said Clive Gardiner, Head, RNIB reading and digital services.
“Electronic braille has great potential, but has been hindered to date by high device cost for users.”
“New innovations for low-cot Braille printers such as this one… can transform reading choices for people with sight loss who read Braille.”
“We look forward to hearing more about its progress.”
Until now, Mr. Shubham Banerjee’s (age 13) company – Braigo Labs – has relied on $35,000 worth of cash from is parents to turn what was originally a science fair project into a proper Silicon valley start-up.
The original Braigo v1.0 printer used Lego’s Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit as well as parts from a local home renovation store. Users used attached keyboards to write texts which the machine converted into Braille bashing out raised bumps on a scroll of paper.
Mr. Banerjee won numerous awards and a place at White House’s inaugural maker faire in June, attended by President Barack Obama.
That day since, he has been working to roll out an upgraded version which will be powered by Intel’s budget-priced Edison chip and using D-printed parts.
“It is less power-hungry and has the future possibilities of using batteries… in remote places of the world,” said Mr. Banerjee when he showed his developing work at an event hosted by Intel in September.
“The capability of Edison enabled me to do a whole set of use cases I hadn’t previously thought about.”
“For example, when we wake up in the morning we look at our Smartphone or tablet to look the headline news.”
With Edison, we’ve set it up so the CNN headlines are printed off automatically every morning.”
The teenager hopes in time to sell a commercial model that will cost around $350- fifth of the price of the lowest cost alternative.
But being one of the youngest tech entrepreneur to find success, he’s not at all interested to dedicate his life to the project at this stage.
“It’s an after-school thing”, he told Reuters.