You probably may have already heard of this 12 year old genius who has been making waves in the technology world for his invention that will be a boon to millions of blind people.
Shubham Banerjee, a 7th grader from Santa Clara, CA has designed a portable printer using the Lego Mindstorms EV3
– an educational Lego kit that teaches various electronics/robotics concepts to children. His design is very simple (I am sure it wasn’t so simple to come up with the idea though!) – the Mindstorm brick is programmed to accept letters A – Z and space. The brick is connected to a print head that accepts input and punches the braille equivalent of the input letter on paper.
This is a proof of concept that just shows how easily a portable braille printer (that runs on battery) can be assembled at home with utmost ease. Currently at its most basic form (prints only letters A – Z), Shubham is already working on version 2.0 of “Braigo” that will print more characters and do a lot more. Braigo was recently praised a lot by the “champion of change” Henry “Hoby” Wedler
, who made it very clear that this is just the beginning, and that Braigo has a lot of potential going forward (not to mention that Braigo has received praise from just about anyone who has seen it in action).
One of the most beneficial things about Braigo is that it is not as expensive as some of the commercial
braille printers/embossers available today, which can be as pricey as a couple of thousand dollars. Assembling Braigo at home involves the Mindstorm EV3 which is only $350.
During a recent discussion with Shubham, Hoby points out that Braigo is excellent for parents who want to teach it to their children but themselves don’t know or understand Braille. He also goes on to suggest that Braigo can be attached to some sort speech to text mechanism where the user would speak the letter and Braigo would just print it. This would enable blind users to print their own Braille documents or labels without anyone’s help.
Like I said earlier, this is just the beginning, and the journey Braigo can take is endless. Shubham has been kind enough to keep Braigo open source so that anyone could take the base model and build on top of it, and keep bettering it to make it all the more practical and friendly for everyone and yet keep the price low. It can be used by parents, teachers in schools, visually impaired people themselves with future enhancements, to name a few.
Be sure to hit the source link to read more about the motivation behind Braigo, how Shubham built it, the components used, and the different things he tried while designing Braigo.
Keep an eye on Braigo (here’s the Facebook
page for updates). See where all it takes you!
Here’s the video where Hoby discusses Braigo – its advantages and certain enhancements Shubham can add to it.