Here’s a feel-good story that’ll make you feel bad about how you’ve spent your own time on earth so far. Using a Lego kit, some odds and ends from Home Depot, and a thumbtack, 12-year-old Shubham Banerjee has created a low-cost Braille printing system.
The device, which he’s christened the Braigo, couples pre-existing printer designs with custom software for printing out words in the tactile alphabet. Banerjee’s early demo is still a bit slow, as CNET notes, but it works — and the California seventh-grader built the system at a fraction of the cost of currently available braille printers, which tend to run in the thousands of dollars
The most expensive component in Banerjee’s configuration was the $350 off-the-shelf Lego Mindstorms set at its core.
The printer essentially cycles through the alphabet, letting the user choose a letter as it comes up. Once the choice is made, the thumbtack creates dots in a roll of old-fashioned calculator paper.
Next up, Banerjee is looking to create a printer that can manage full pages. He’s also looking to open-source the software, so anyone can create a printer at home for the cost of parts. You can follow along with his progress over on the project’s Facebook page.