Santa Clara, Calif. — A young boy became curious about how blind people could read and asked his parents about it. They told him to Google the answer. So he did. That’s when he found out about Braille and how expensive it was, so he decided to do something to change it. He’s 13 years old.
Shubham Banerjee had such a burning curiosity that he decided to study more about Braille printers and how they worked. Soon enough, he came up with a plan to create a much cheaper alternative, using an Intel chip with bluetooth and wifi, several parts from a desktop printer, and a Lego robotics kit that cost his father around $350. He built his prototype in under a month, and before long, he won a local science fair in 2014. In that same year, he also won the county fair level.
Compared to the existing Braille printers that cost around $2,000, Shubham’s model is much simpler and much cheaper. He posted the plan for his Braille Lego printer on an open source on line for everyone to see, hoping to help others build the printer themselves by teaching them how to do it.
Soon enough, families of children who are blind started to ask if he could build something they could buy off the shelves.
Not long after that, he caught the attention of tech giant Intel.
“He’s solving a real problem, and he wants to go off and disrupt an existing industry. And that’s really what it’s all about,”
said Intel director of Inventive Platforms Edward Ross in an interview with the Associated Press. Intel decided to back Shubham’s invention with an undisclosed amount, and soon after, he started his own company, Braigo— a name he took from Braille and Lego— and is now well on his way into fulfilling a dream of changing other people’s lives through his invention.
Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta