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8th-Grader Turns Legos Into Silicon Valley Tech Company

A California 13-year-old launched a company out of his Silicon Valley home, after Intel put some money behind the prototype he built at his dining room table.

Shubham Banerjee developed a low-cost Braille printer out of Legos when he learned that typical embossers for Braille texts sell for upwards of $2,000. That price tag puts Braille printers out of reach in developing countries, meaning millions of blind people don't have regular access to written materials.

Banerjee's idea is the outcome of being blown off by his parents when he asked how blind people read. They told him to "go Google it," which he did, apparently going down the rabbit hole of Braille printers and readers. He then dove in to building a prototype using a Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit.

He won enthusiastic support from the blind community of Santa Clara, his Silicon Valley hometown. His dad gave him $35,000 in startup funds and then Intel, his dad's employer, put money into the game after that.

Banerjee calls his company "Braigo," a combo of Braille and Lego.

He used investments to build a 2.0 prototype of the machine using an off-the-shelf desktop printer and a newly released Intel computer chip. It translates electronic text into Braille before printing.

Intel says Banerjee is the youngest entrepreneur, whose company they have invested in. Though he has financial backing, he's too young to be the CEO. That job, naturally, goes to his mom.

Image via Hindustan Times

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