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This 7th Grader Made a Braille Printer With a Lego kit and a Thumbtack

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 odd-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 a 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 7th 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 chose a letter as it comes up. Once the choice is made, the thumbtack creates a dot 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 their own printer at home for the cost of parts. You can follow along with his progress over on the project’s Facebook page.

By: Brian Heater

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