New printer shortly for the blind


New York: A 13-year-old Indian-origin boy, who invented a low cost portable Braille printer, says he is currently working on a “pretty cool” new idea for a product which will again be useful for millions of visually impaired.

Shubham Banerjee, an eighth-grade student in Santa Clara, California, is receiving rave reviews and valuable support from experts and prestigious companies for his printer Braigo, which he had recently developed using Lego Mindstorms EV3, a robotics kit.

Banerjee is not one to rest on his laurels and says he has a “lot of ideas,” which are “secret for now” and wants to work on products that will help people, particularly in developing countries.

Without disclosing details, Banerjee said he is currently working on a “pretty cool” new idea for a product which will again be useful for the visually impaired.

Banerjee, who plans to pursue a career in engineering or the scientific area, encouraged youngsters of his age to come up with original ideas that will help the society.  “Don’t do something that someone’s already done before. Do something original and something that helps the society,” he said from California.

“Anyone can build something to help people. Whenever you get a chance, really go out and help people,” he said.        A good idea can “come from anywhere,” Banerjee said pointing out that he started out on the printer using the Lego blocks and figures.

Banerjee came up with the idea of building a low-cost printer for the blind when he was working on a science fair project last year. He said he was shocked to learn that Braille printers cost over US$ 2,000.

With millions of visually impaired people in the world, 90 per cent of who live in developing countries, Banerjee decided to develop a printer that was low-cost and could be used easily.

The consumer-focused Braille printer, which uses new technology and an Intel Edison chip, is portable, silent and will be offered at a price point well below currently available products for the visually impaired. PTI

Banerjee said he and his company are currently working on the design of the printer and the final product, which he expects will be released in the market in the mid 2015. He says his family in India is proud of his accomplishments.