Young people are constantly surprising the world with their gifts and talents. Children and teenagers invented many widely used items today, such as earmuffs, popsicles, and trampolines. Louis Braille originally invented Braille, the system of raised dots allowing blind people to read written words, while he was a teenager at the Paris National Institute for Blind Youth. In more current news, 13-year-old student Shubham Banerjee is building on the inventions of the young Louis Braille by inventing a Braigo, a Braille printer.
Originally a science fair project, Banerjee’s printer began as a prototype created from a LEGO robotics kit and parts from a home renovation store. The prototype was so impressive, it was shown at the White House when the inventor was still 12 years old. Banerjee then used $35,000 to develop working Braille printers, essentially creating his own startup business.
Technology giant Intel discovered his work and was impressed by Banerjee to the point that they provided financial backing to his project. While they have not disclosed the exact amount of money they contributed to the project, it is reported to be several hundred thousand dollars.
Braigo an affordable printing option, which is part of what makes it such a big deal, as well as part of the reason Intel has invested in it. With Intel’s cooperation and backing, the young inventor has been able to improve his printer and is currently working on creating a follow-up printer during his extra time after school.
Intel’s Edison chip, a relatively inexpensive microchip, has been installed in the new printers to allow for possibilities that Banerjee had not previously imagined. The use of 3D printed parts is another improvement. One of the new printer’s features is the ability to print off the headlines of CNN every morning, providing blind people with morning news similar to how sighted people check their smartphones. While not all blind people read Braille, Braigo may pave the way to allow more people to learn, and improve the lives of blind persons throughout the world.