As they say, it’s never too early to start your own business. And that’s exactly what Shubham Banerjee did.
The 13-year old eighth-grader from California has recently launched his own start-up, Braigo Labs, after he got the idea from a science project.
One day, Shubham was at home with his parents when he wondered how blind people read. So he asked them and their only reply was, “Google it.”
The teen decided to do just that and discovered that Braille printers, or embossers as others would call it, are worth at least $2,000. He realized that with such an expensive prize, it would be difficult for some people to afford it, most especially the blind people who need it most.
He thought that companies must find a way to make printing cheaper.
So when they were asked to create a science project for school, Shubham decided not to wait for these companies to create a less expensive printer. He would create one himself.
With the use of a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit, the 13-year old proceeded to create his version of a Braille printer, the “Braigo.” The term was coined from a combination of the words “Braille” and “Lego.”
His Braigo costs only $350 and weighs much lighter than the ones out in the market. It could print Braille on paper using dots from the Lego blocks.
It became such a hit that it won awards and was even endorsed by the blind community. With this support, Shubham decided that it’s time to put his prototype into use and he started Braigo Labs last year with an initial capital funded by his dad.
Shubham upgraded his model and added a new Intel computer chip to his design with the money he received. The Intel chip would give the printer an option to transcribe it in electronic text before printing it. Intel was so impressed they decided to invest in his project.
Edward Ross from Intel lauded Shubham’s advocacy. “He’s solving a real problem, and he wants to go off and disrupt and existing industry. And that’s really what it’s all about,” Ross noted.