What started out as a science fair project has turned into a mission to help the less fortunate. With nothing more than a $350 LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit, some simple hardware from Home Depot and an ordinary thumbtack, seventh grader Shubham Banerjee has created a fully functioning Braille printer to help the blind read.
Typical Braille printers can cost up to $2000, which can be a burdensome financial setback for many families. As Kinja reports, nine out of ten of the 285 million visually impaired people in the world live in developing countries. Showing wisdom beyond his young age, the California boy genius wrote on his Facebook page that he’s just trying to do his part in making the world a better place with his cost-friendly machine, which he has called the “Braigo.”
“Why are engineers or companies not creating better and cheaper Assistive Technologies for the people in need?” he wrote. “We are fortunate to live a normal life, maybe we are better equipped to help others, why don’t we do it?”
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What’s most impressive about Banerjee’s innovation is how it’s an open-source project, which means anyone can access it. He’s declined to patent the device not only because it’s expensive to do so, but also so other can tinker with it to find improvements. The machine currently only types out the letters A-Z and does not move as fast as¬†Banerjee would like. “I would love to see more experienced people in robotics take my design and code and make something even more cool to help the disadvantaged,” he wrote on Facebook. Check out the video above to see how the Braigo works.