13 Year Old Builds Printer to Help Blind People
Shubham Banerjee, a student from Santa Clara in Silicon Valley, has launched his own company at the age of just 13. Shubham has developed a low cost device that can print Braille, the writing system used for blind people and the visually impaired.
Solving a problem
Shubham first built the Braille printer for a school project using a Lego robotics kit. He had asked his parents: How do blind people read? When his parents responded with 'Google it' he set about researching the topic.
During his research, Shubham discovered that Braille printers cost in excess of $2000, making them far too expensive for most blind people.
"I just thought that price should not be there. I know that there is a simpler way to do this," said Shubham.
Shubham's aim is to develop a desktop Braille printer that costs roughly $350 and weighs only a few pounds as current models can weigh as much as 20 pounds.
The aim is for the device to print Braille reading materials on paper from laptops and smart phones.
"My end goal would probably be having most of the blind people ... using my Braille printer," said Shubham,
After winning numerous rewards and support from the blind community, Shubham set up Braigo Labs, a name that combines Braille and Lego. The student has recently received investment from Intel Corp to develop his idea. Intel believe he is the youngest entrepreneur to receive capital in exchange for a stake in his company.
Refining the printer
Using the investment, Shubham built a more sophisticated printer using a desktop printer and an Intel computer chip. Braigo 2.0, the new model, can translate electronic text into Braille before printing.
An affordable printer would allow visually impaired readers to print out letters, labels, lists and general reading material out in Braille, something that is currently too expensive to do.