A seventh-grader from California has built his very own Braille printer, the Braigo. While a basic model Braille printer usually costs about $2,000, Shubham Banerjee’s model cost only $350 to build. His low-cost version of the printer is made out of Legos, specifically the Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit and $5 worth of add-ons purchased at a local Home Depot.
The 12-year-old made the printer for his school’s science fair, stating that he wanted to do something about the high cost of currently available Braille printers. In a video for his YouTube channel, he can be heard saying, “Can’t we do something about the cost? Can’t we do something about helping the less privileged?” Banerjee has also chosen not to profit from his printer and instead wants to make the code and instructions available online so that, “Anyone can make it.” The printer was built for the purposes of education, teaching, and home use.
The World Health Organization reports that, worldwide, there are 280 million visually impaired people. More than 90 percent of those people live in developing countries and lack access to Braille printers and other technology. Banerjee went through seven models before settling on a base model to showcase, according to Socio Technocrat. After the assembly process was complete, he began working on developing the necessary code to allow the printer to type all 26 letters of the English alphabet. The Braigo has a range of 5-7 seconds per letter, with improvements to come.
Banerjee is currently a student at Champion School in San Jose, California and has begun to upload information about his concept online. He has already received recognition from the California State Assembly because of his project and is in contact with blind institutes to help him make further enhancements to the printer. In his latest post on the Braigo Facebook page he wrote, “I hope to contribute further in the field of science and engineering in the future.”