A twelve year old boy has put his ingenuity, and his LEGO collection, to good use to come up with the world's first affordable Braille printer.
At an average two thousand US Dollar a pop, a Braille printer is an expensive piece of technology, making it simply out of reach for most people.
Inspired by a fundraising leaflet that had landed on his doorstep, asking for donations for a charity for the blind, Shubham Banerjee, a clever 12 year old boy from California, decided to put his skills and his life long passion for LEGO to the test and find a way to lower the cost of producing a Braille printer.
According to Socialtech, after seven attempts doing all sort of clever tests and prototyping, Banerjee “built a machine and software programme that could render the six dots that make up the tactile writing code – using a standard LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit, printing onto standard calculator paper and with a thumbtack as its primitive printer head.“
He called it 'Braigo'- from Braille and LEGO.
Although slower than commercial models – it takes five seconds to print a character with the Braigo prototype - Banerjee is at work to speed up the model and to also add in extra elements, such as text-to-speech software.
Banjeree's love for LEGO and passion for building things since a young age has allowed him to cut the cost of a Braille printer dramatically from two thousand to just 350USD. And rather than selling his invention and make lots of money with it, he made the software and design for the Braigo available for free online.
In 2014 Banjeree's 'Braigo Lab Inc.' was nominated by Nominet Trust 100 as one of 100 inspiring global projects that use technology to help tackle some of the world's biggest social issues.
They don't call him a boy genius for nothing.