Boy Entrepreneur Invents Lego Braille Printer
22:33, UK, Wednesday 21 January 2015
“The California teen built the device in his kitchen for a school science project and now Intel Corp have invested in his start-up.”
A 13-year-old American boy is thought to be the youngest entrepreneur ever to receive venture capital after he invented a Braille printer using Lego.
Proving that Silicon Valley wonder kids really are getting younger, Shubham Banerjee had his light-bulb moment after asking his parents how blind people read.
The California eighth-grader’s mum and dad told him to Google the answer and he began to read up about Braille, the tactile writing system for the visually impaired.
He was surprised to find that Braille printers cost at least $2,000 (£1,300), way too expensive for many in the developing world, and weigh a hefty 20lb (9kg).
Shubham road tests the gadget with a visually impaired user
Shubham, of Santa Clara, decided to have a go at building a cheaper, lighter printer as a school science project.
He perfected his prototype, using a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit, working late at night at his kitchen table.
“I just thought that price should not be there,” he told AP news agency. “I know that there is a simpler way to do this.”
Shubham wants to deliver a lightweight model that can be sold for $350.
The Braigo embosser translates electronic text into Braille before printing
He launched Braigo Labs – a name that combines Braille and Lego – last summer to develop his idea, with a $35,000 investment from his father.
Tech giant Intel Corp has now pumped an undisclosed sum into the start-up.
Edward Ross, director of Inventor Platforms at Intel, said: “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.”
The company aims to have a version of the printer ready for blind organisations to test this summer.
But the boardroom will have to wait for Shubham.
The teen prodigy is too young to be chief executive of his own company, so his mother has taken the job.
I think this is so wonderful. He may be young, but he saw a problem with the Braille market, that he thought was unfair to blind people, and he decided to do something about it. If only there were more kind, considerate people like him, the world would be a much better place. He is truly inspiring.