If you’re blind, the world of PDFs and laser printers doesn’t do much for you. There are software programs and special printers that transcribe text into Braille, but they’ve traditionally been expensive.
Now, though, a Silicon Valley startup led by a 13-year-old founder has come up with a technology for quickly transcoding uploaded text into Braille at no cost.
Shubham Banerjee, the teen founder of Braigo Labs, will unveil his new system during an address in Sao Paulo, Brazil today. The technology involves uploading a standard-text document from a computer into the memory of the Intel Edison chip that’s the brains of the Braigo Braille printer.
In a video showing the technology in action, Banerjee demonstrated that it’s possible to transcode 160 pages of text into Braille in about 30 seconds. Banerjee told VentureBeat that transcoding software like this has traditionally cost hundreds of dollars, but Braigo Labs has built it in, at no additional cost, to its printer.
The printer itself was also designed to radically change the economics of printing Braille. Braigo charges less than $500 for the hardware. In the past, Braille printers have sold for more than $2,000. Intel Capital thought enough of Braigo’s technology that it invested in the startup, despite the young age of its founder, last fall.
Braigo plans to start selling its printer later this year. The new on-chip transcoding technology will come standard.