A 12-year-old has built a braille printer out of a repurposed $350 Lego kit. Commercial braille printers typically cost over $2,000.
We've all played with Lego blocks at some point in our lives, but few of us have accomplished anything close to the feat of engineering that 12-year-old Shubham Banerjee has. The seventh-grade Santa Clara, California resident used a $350 Lego Mindstorms kit to build a fully-functional braille printer.
The total cost was actually a few dollars over $350 - Banerjee used about $5 worth of supplies from Home Depot to complete his project - but that is still a far cry from normal braille printers, which can cost more than $2,000. Initially created for a science fair, the Braigo printer, as Banerjee calls it, can presently print one letter every five to seven seconds.
The young inventor hopes that his creation can one day be used to grant people in developing nations easier access to braille printers. As he continues to iterate on his project, Banerjee plans to make both his design and software open source and available to the public free of charge.
The current design makes use of the easily modifiable Mindstorms kit to have a robotic arm move a module that contains a push pin. The pin pushes down on the paper to create the characteristic braille bumps, and one letter can fit on each line of the paper.