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Intel funds 13-year-old American boy’s budget Braille printer

A boy from California aged just 13 has grabbed himself some serious funding from Intel to go ahead and develop a budget priced Braille printer.

Shubham Banerjee first built a prototype of the printer using the sophisticated version of Lego (Lego Mindstorms EV3), which he got to show off at the White House. He was then inspired to set a goal for himself – to mass produce the printer and sell them for $350 (£220), far cheaper than the current cost of a Braille printer which start at around $2,000 (£1,250).

Over this summer just past, he has worked on getting an Intel Edison chip built into the printer, and Intel subsequently invited him to an Edison conference in India. It was here, Reuters (opens in new tab) reports, that his company, Braigo Labs, received an offer of funding from Intel's Mike Bell – apparently to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars, although the exact amount wasn't disclosed.

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Banerjee commented: "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. 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 young tech entrepreneur is still keeping his feet firmly on the ground, though. He doesn't intend to stop going to school in favour of running his business full-time; rather, he told Reuters this was still an "after-school thing".

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.