A 13-year-old Indian-origin boy, who invented a low-cost portable Braille printer, is now working with technology giant Microsoft to integrate it with Windows to make it easily accessible to the visually-impaired and plans to launch it commercially in November.
Shubham Banerjee, an eighth-grade student in Santa Clara, California was invited by Microsoft to showcase his Braigo 2.0 printer at a tech fair organised by the company here.
"Our relationship with Microsoft will help Braigo achieve a seamless experience for a visually-impaired person who wants to use a computer at home or at the office to print documents for offline reading," Banerjee said in Microsoft blog post.
"Participating in the fair and working with Microsoft has been an amazing experience and I am looking at ways to integrate the Windows technology with the printer as I prepare to launch it commercially by November this year," Banerjee told PTI.
He is targeting a price point of 500 dollars or less for the printer to ensure affordability for organisations working for the visually-impaired in developing and least developed countries.
The young student has started working with a Windows team to integrate Braigo drivers with Windows for easy deployment. "Also, think about the banks, the government institutions or even the libraries where Windows-based computers are widely used.
They will all benefit from having a Braigo to provide accessibility services to their visually-impaired customers," Banerjee said. Banerjee is receiving rave reviews and valuable support from experts and prestigious companies for Braigo, which he had developed using Lego Mindstorms EV3, a robotics kit.
He came up with the idea of building the low-cost printer for the blind when he was working on a science fair project last year. He said he was shocked to learn that braille printers cost over 2,000 dollars.
With millions of visually-impaired people in the world, of whom 90 per cent live in developing countries, Banerjee decided to develop a printer that was low-cost and could be used easily.
Getting support from his father Neil, Banerjee worked on his product for nearly a month, at the same time focussing on his studies and other extra-curricular activities.
The consumer-focused braille printer, which uses new technology and an Intel Edison chip, is portable, silent and will be offered at a price point well below currently available products for the visually impaired.