Intel funds Indian teen’s project
Thirteen-year-old Shubham Banerjee had to borrow money from his parents to create his first low-cost Braille printer, but he won’t need to rely on the kindness of friends and family for more cash any time soon.
San Jose: Thirteen-year-old Shubham Banerjee had to borrow money from his parents to create his first low-cost Braille printer, but he won’t need to rely on the kindness of friends and family for more cash any time soon.
Intel has invested an undisclosed amount in Banerjee’s company, Braigo Labs, providing the funds needed to develop a new Braille printer called Braigo v2.0. Intel described Banerjee’s printer as being disruptive and a difference-maker.
Banerjee made headlines earlier this year with a homegrown US$349.99 Braille printer made using Lego parts from a Mindstorm robotics development kit. Called Braigo, the printer was less expensive than other Braille printers, which typically go for over $1,000.
The Braille printer started off as an idea for a science-fair project, and Banerjee had a wider goal to make technology accessible to the visually impaired. The printer ended up on display at the Maker Faire held at the White House in June. Braigo v2.0, which uses Intel’s low-power Edison development board, was demonstrated at the Intel Developer Forum in September.
Banerjee is now developing a more sophisticated version of the Braigo that looks like a conventional inkjet printer, as opposed to a mesh of Lego parts. It accepts character input from a device connected to the printer, which is then printed out in Braille.
In a statement, Banerjee said he will now be able to work with professionals to develop and bring Braigo v2.0 to more than 50 million blind people worldwide. At IDF, he said he hopes to keep the Braille printers affordable.
The cash infusion in Braigo was part of a larger US$62 million investment made in 16 companies by Intel Capital on Tuesday. The Braigo investment aligns with the company’s “effort to make everything smart and connected best with Intel,” an Intel spokeswoman said.