Shubham Banerjee, a San Francisco Bay Area seventh grade student, has developed BRAIGO, a Braille printer using Lego Mindstorms EV3, which slashes the price of a printer from more than $2000 to $350, thereby giving a more cost-effective printer for the disadvantaged.
According to WHO reports, there are an estimated 285 million visually impaired people worldwide, 90 percent of whom lives in developing countries. At this moment, the cost of a Braille printer is more than $2000 for a basic version, which means many millions of people across the world have limited access.
Banerjee’s project uses the Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit costing $349 and some add-ons from Home Depot costing another $5.
The project uses the base reference model known as Banner Print3r and was redesigned with totally new software to print the letters A-Z. The project is named BRAIGO v1.0, short for Braille with LEGO.
Banerjee wishes to make this project open source with the design and software readily available for public consumption free of charge. It will thus give a new tool in the hands of blind institutions or even parents with visually impaired children to use this printer at an 80 percent savings from commercially available products out in the market.
The young Indian American student has already received a special recognition for his project on behalf of the California State Assembly and public reception to the concept was overwhelming.
Banerjee was born in Hasselt, Belgium, to Indian parents. He moved to San Jose, Calif., when he was 3 years old. Later, he moved to Santa Clara and finished his elementary schooling at Don Callejon School.
He joined Magnolia Science Academy in Santa Clara in middle school for a couple of months, before moving to Champion School in San Jose, where he is in the 7th grade.