Developed by Shubham Banerjee, a 7th grade student from Santa Clara, California. BRAIGO is a Braille Printer using Lego Mindstorms EV3. This concept slashes the price of a printer from more than $2000 to around $350 for education, teaching and home use purposes. Thus giving a more cost effective printer for the disadvantaged. This project uses the Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit costing $349 and some add-ons from Home-depot costing another $5 to prove that its feasible to make a brail printer for education purposes and schools that’s much cheaper. The project uses the base reference model known as Banner Print3r thats included with the EV3 set (credit: Ralph Hempel) and was redesigned with totally new software to print letters A-Z. The project is named as BRAIGO v1.0 in short for Brail with LEGO. There are endless possibilities to add enhancements in software to make BRAIGO do a lot more. Shubham made and broke 7 models , before settling with one base model and started to make mechanical enhancements and coding from scratch (after analyzing the code that came with the model) – This was like almost 5 days before he had a deadline to submit for his school’s science fair project.
The student wishes to make this project open source (already started to upload the concepts) with the design and software readily available for public consumption free of charge. Thus giving a new tool in the hands of blind institutions or even parents with visually impaired children to use this printer at a 80% savings from commercially available products out there in the market.
In Shubham’s own words – “I’ve been loving LEGOS since I was 2 years old. And in the mail that came to our house in December 2013, I noticed those posts that said, ‘Help the blind people with donations.’ I had no idea about Braille, so I asked my parents how blind people read and they said Google it ! Upon further research, I discovered that typical Braille printers cost about $2,000 or even more, and I felt that was unnecessarily expensive for someone already at a disadvantage. Thus, I put my brain to work, and the first thing that came to mind was to create an alternative using my favorite toy. I took the LEGO model Mindstorms EV3 and devised a new kind of Braille printer that’s only $350. It took me 3 weeks and I broke and re-assembled 7 or so different types of models before settling on one and programing it. My dad was my guide whenever I got stuck. He works a lot, even from home after he comes back from office. He used to sit down with me on the kitchen table , while he continued with his conference calls and work, I worked on building the model. For the couple of weeks , it was very long days for me. I started working on Braigo after I finished my homework and assignments and some days , I was awake till 2 am. But it was all worth it. “