It is hard to believe that thirteen year old Shubham Banerjee, who is currently the CEO of the Braille print maker Braigo Labs, had no idea about what Braille meant until a year ago. A fundraising flyer for visually impaired which came his way made him wonder about how did these people read and he ended up Goggling about it. What came up in his Google search shocked him to the core as he discovered that Braille printers usually cost a huge sum because of which many of the visually impaired aren’t able to afford it. This set him thinking and he put his Lego Robotics Kit to use.
Braigo is a combination of Braille and Lego. It has been made out of Lego’s Mindstorms EV3 blocks and some little pieces from the home depot. The cost was said to be about $350 for the Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit and some extra commonly used hardware whereas a conventional Braille printer is believed to retail starting from $2000, Shubham thus has managed to cut down the cost of Braille printer by around 70%.
On November 4, 2014 at the Intel Capital Global Summit, Intel Capital announced that they have funded Braigo Labs Inc. the startup founded by Shubham Banerjee. This funding has made Shubham Banerjee the youngest technology entrepreneur to be ever funded by a VC firm. With the funding from Intel, Shubham has plans of developing a new prototype that will resemble more like a regular printer and bring it into the market by 2015.
According to him, his Braille printer will prove to be very effective in cutting the cost of other Braille printers which in return will help the visually impaired. Currently, there are a total of 285 million visually impaired people and almost ninety percent of them reside in developing countries. He wants to send out a message of stop taking the advantage of blind people to the big companies through his cost effective printer.
The Braigo Braille printer came out as quite well and has since then been getting Shubham a lot of non-stop laurels from all around the world. The thirteen year old recently attended the White House Maker Fair, an event that awards innovators and student entrepreneurs. He also has Tech Awards 2014 to his credit.
His vision and product has even attracted the technology giant Intel in investing in his company. The investment was officially announced in the Intel Capital Global Summit that took place last week. Braigo labs became one of the sixteen technology startups which the technology giant had shortlisted to invest in this year. The amount of the investment wasn’t disclosed but according to some rumors doing the rounds of the industry the figure runs in a few hundred thousand dollars.
In August 2014, Braigo Labs Inc. was formed with Banerjee announcing that he is working on his next version of the Braille Printer and named it as Braigo v2.0. Since he is a minor, his mother Malini Banerjee is named as the President of the company with him listed as Founder.
BRAIGO detailed Demo
This video covers a little bit more detail about the print head and shows in closeup the printing. developed by Shubham Banerjee