Products

COMING SOON V2.0

Funding accelerates development of new braille printer/embosser technology “Braigo” to help the 50 million legally blind individuals worldwide with low cost, silent, portable and IOT-enabled products.Palo Alto, California, USA – Nov 4, 2014 – Braigo Labs Inc. announced that it has received a seed round investment from Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization. The funds will be used to further expand the company’s R&D capabilities around the Braigo line of low-cost, portable Braille printer/embosser devices and other products catering to the accessibility markets.Braigo Labs Inc. was founded by Shubham Banerjee, a middle school student from Santa Clara, California, who invented the open source DIY Braille printer Braigo v1.0 in February 2014 using Lego Mindstorms. He subsequently released a new prototype, BraigoTM v2.0, at Intel Developer Forum (IDF 2014). This consumer-focused braille printer, which uses new technology and an Intel Edison chip, is portable, silent, IOT-enabled and will be offered at a price point well below currently available products for the visually impaired.

Banerjee said: “I have been working with bootstrapped funds from my parents since February 2014. I am ecstatic that Intel Capital is investing early in our effort to disrupt the braille printer/embosser industry.”

“It all started with a science fair project idea, but the shocking price of braille printers — at $2,000 or more – motivated me to start a journey to help the visually impaired,” he added. “Intel Capital’s investment will help open up opportunities for me to work with professionals and eventually bring the product to more than 50 million blind people worldwide.”The investment was announced at the Intel Capital Global Summit, where investments across a wide range of technology sectors were disclosed – from wearables and the Internet of Things to cloud infrastructure and big data analytics.“With Intel Capital’s stewardship, Intel continues to invest in pioneering companies that are developing the latest innovations,” said Mike Bell, corporate vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel.Terms of the investment, which was led by Intel Capital Managing Director Rob Rueckert, were not disclosed.

Coming Soon

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sep 9, 2014 – Developed by Shubham Banerjee, a 8th grade student from Santa Clara, California. BRAIGO v2.0 is a Braille Printer using new patent pending technology along with the Intel’s Edison Chip with associated development board to bring a consumer oriented braille printer to the market.In February of this year Shubham developed a low-cost Braille printer using Lego Mindstorms EV3 that slashed the price of a Braille embossing device by 82% compared to devices available in the market. He called it “Braigo”TM and made the design and code open source (www.braigolabs.com). The next natural progression for him after multiple feedbacks from the visually impaired community was to make a real consumer version that could eventually be bought off-the-shelf. This is a social impact project and can bring relief to more than 53 Million legally blind people in this world and more than 200 Million people who are on the verge of being blind.  ” What I did with Lego has me convinced that I’m onto something here.  I want to bring a Braille printer to market that’s at an affordable price point.  To do that I needed something small and powerful to drive the system.  Intel Edison is a great fit for that.  I’m so passionate about solving this problem that I spent my summer building what you see here. I got membership at the Techshop in San Jose to learn design tools, worked with other individuals to get 3D printed mechanical parts and also machinist to design new braille heads and assembly”Shubham commented that – ” Intel’s new chip Edison Edison was the perfect choice for being connected to the cloud/internet and at the same time reduces the BOM price by not using separate components/drivers. It is less power hungry and has the future possibilities of using batteries for using in remote places of the world. The design uses new (patent pending) technology and also using Edison opens up the possibility to potentially use the same mechanism for other assistive technology products, like a refreshable reader and a display. The ability to use the backend cloud for software upgrades (without requiring any user interface) can make it much easier for a visually impaired person to install drivers or programs. The capabilities of Edison enabled me to do a whole set of use cases I hadn’t previously thought about. For example, when we wake up in the morning we look at our smartphone or tablet to see the headline news.  With Edison, we’ve set it up so the CNN headlines are printed off automatically every morning.”

At this moment the price point for Braigo 2.0 cannot be disclosed or when it will be launched, since development is still ongoing. Shubham commented ” the braille market needed a disruption from price point and technology perspective”.

PRODUCT VIDEO

Braigo - Automatic Braille transcription process demo

BRAIGO V1.0

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.

Braigo Build instructions and Software links available for FREE DOWNLOAD as promised by Shubham Banerjee. The Braigo event calendar is published to facilitate anyone requesting Shubham’s time for interviews or events. Read: Braigo inspired Seattle based companies battle it out at Lego Mindstorms Build 4 Good Challenge

The challenges with assistive technologies currently available are either too expensive or difficult to obtain for normal people without government or non-profit sponsorships. According to WHO reports, there are estimated 285 million visually impaired people worldwide and 90% of them live in developing countries. At this moment the cost of a braille printer is more than $2000 for a basic version. Thus many millions of people across the world have limited access. If we could reduce the cost to below $500, we could already reduce the cost by 75%. To give access to easily assemble and build a braille printer for the masses, the basic ability of DO-IT-YOURSELF (D-I-Y) is key. The kit should be readily available at stores or procured online from reputable websites to make the process easy for adoption. Most printers operate in X (to move the print head) -Y (to push the paper) – Z (to print or not to print) co-ordinates. The printer has to be compact and self-explanatory. Engineering as a discipline is the application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to design, build, maintain, and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. In this experiment, I relied on my love of LEGO and readily available Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit to build a D-I-Y Braille printer and program the device to print in Braille. I worked with a constraint that all parts should be from one kit and maybe some low cost readily available add-ons to make such a printer. After studying the Braille language; I understood that a visually impaired individual feels through his/her fingers the bumps on a paper through a combination of 6 dots. If we could make a printer that prints (by making holes in a paper) as a mirror image of the letter and when flipping the page we should be able to translate letters into BRAILLE. I used rapid prototyping concepts where I tried to build models and programing it to see if I am able to get the desired results. I had to build and break 7 different models before settling on a final one that was able to print the six dots in a desired sequence according to the Braille standards. After which, I programmed the letters A-Z. I used a normal calculator paper to provide the proof of concept. I have validated my version 1.0 of BRAIGO and potential small updates in software necessary to perfect for the next version 2.0 at Santa Clara Valley Blind Center based in San Jose and also with Hoby Wedler at his laboratory in UC Davis. I would say that the first prototype of the proof of concept has been successful and me providing the building instructions and software as open source will provide a low cost alternative solution to the visually impaired community. I achieved a 82% reduction in cost and have been overwlemed by the encouraging feedback from both the sighted and the blind equally.! –—from the abstract submitted at Synopsis Science Fair by Shubham Banerjee

PRODUCT VIDEOS

Braigo - Braille Printer made from Lego Mindstorms EV3 (Part 2 - Demo)
BRAIGO - validation by Henry
BRAIGO with Roman Reed and Shubham Banerjee
BRAIGO - a bit more close up (The Print Head) - print speed 5-7 secs/letter