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13-year-old’s Lego-made Braille printer attracts Intel
What were you doing at 13? Probably not this.
For the typical 13-year-old, life consists of learning to cope with newly awkward, gangly bodies, and how best to coyly ignore a crush at lunch. But not so for eighth grader Shubahm Banerjee, who happens to have invented a low-cost Braille printer and started his own company, according to an Associated Press report.
Typical Braille printers, which produces the touch-based reading system for the blind, can often cost upwards of $2,000 a pop. After learning of the prohibitive cost of such machines, Banerjee decided there had to be a better alternative and set to work building his own prototype for a school science fair using a Lego robotics kit.
“I just thought that that price should not be there. I know that there is a simpler way to do this,” A self-assured Banerjee told the AP.
The crude prototype proved effective and led Banerjee to start his own business, Braigo Labs, with the assistance of a $35,000 initial investment from his father. Now, the more sophisticated device he produced with the seed money has attracted the attention of a far larger investor: Intel.
“He’s solving a real problem and he wants to go off and disrupt an existing industry, and that’s really what it’s all about,” said an unnamed Intel Spokesman.
Banerjee hopes to sell his device for $350 and says that his “end goal would probably be having most of the blind people today using my Braille printer.”
Of course, as a 13-year-old, Banerjee is still too young for the CEO role, which his mother has enthusiastically taken on in his stead. Disrupting an industry in middle school is no small feat, but even this exceptional teenager will have to admit that, sometimes, mother knows best.
Alex La Ferla is a writer, artist, and architect living and working in New York City. His work for the Daily Dot focused on internet culture.