Like many 13-year old males, Shubham Banerjee played with Lego kits and used Google to search for answers. Unlike most 13-year old kids, however, he is now the chief inventor and chief executive officer of his own company – the Braigo Labs, a maker of affordable Braille printers.
His brilliant idea was born out of his curiosity about the manner with which the blind can read. He asked his father about it but he was told to Google it and so he did.
He learned two things that would later become the foundation for his company. First, Braille was the tactile writing system by which the visually impaired can read. Second, Braille printers cost an arm and a leg with the most affordable priced at $2,000 a piece, which shocked him and inspired his Lego kit-driven Braille printing system.
Banerjee then set to work building a Braille printer using his Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit and other pieces bought from Home Depot; Braigo combines the terms “Braille” and “Lego”. Lo and behold – it worked quite well with just a few glitches.
His invention solved a problem that has held back visually impaired people – the high cost of conventional Braille printers. The visually impaired can soon purchase Banerjee’s Braille printer for less than $500 when it comes into production, thanks to the investment made by Intel during its Intel Capital Global Summit.
Banerjee is now considered as the youngest tech entrepreneur funded by a venture capitalist firm – truly, an achievement that an ordinary 13-year will be hard-pressed to equal, much less top. He has also been recognized by other bodies for his invention, such as the Tech Awards 2014 and his invitation to the White House Maker Faire.
But all of these recognitions are secondary to the sense of accomplishment that Banerjee feels at the thought of being able to improve the quality of life for the visually impaired with his invention.