12-year-old Boy Invents Braille Printer Made of Lego Pieces

March 31, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. assemble /əˈsɛmbəl/ (v.) – to join pieces together to build something
Example: The girl assembled her doll house.

2. interface /ˈɪntərˌfeɪs/ (n.) – a system that allows a computer or other entity to connect with another unit
Example: The recent system update made the program’s interface easier.

3. fascinate /ˈfæsəˌneɪt/ (v.) – to become interested or drawn towards something
Example: The kid’s remarkable work fascinated many viewers.

4. room for improvement /rum, rʊm, fɔr ɪmˈpruvmənt/ (idiom) – an opportunity to improve or be better
Example: Despite his developed writing style, the teacher thinks there is still room for improvement

5. knack /næk/ (n.) – an acquired or learned ability or talent
Example: She has a knack for fixing puzzles very quickly.


Read the text below.
A seventh grader from California invented a Braille [breyl] printer using parts of a Lego Mindstorm EV3.

Shubham Banerjee [shoo-bam ban-ER-jee], a 12-year-old student, calls his invention Braigo, short for Braille and Lego. A Lego Mindstorm set is composed of materials that can be made to customizable robots. By assembling pieces from this set and some additional materials, Banerjee was able to create an affordable tool for the blind and visually impaired people. The Braigo is estimated to cost about $350, which is significantly cheaper than a regular $2,000 Braille printer.

Braigo can print Braille letters from A to Z and each letter takes around seven seconds to be printed. Banerjee said the invention has an easy interface that even his little sister can operate it. He has uploaded videos on YouTube that demonstrate how his device works.

This invention has fascinated many people, including the Lego Group. Through Twitter, the toy manufacturer expressed its admiration for Banerjee’s invention. The company said the creator’s intention to help blind people made the invention more impressive.

Despite praises from people, Banerjee said that his invention still has room for improvement. He will soon add the numbers one to 10 in the program. Also, Banerjee plans to release the printer’s software to the online community for free and provide instructions in building the tool. Thus, Lego users who also have a knack for programming can do their own Braigo.

According to the World Health Organization, around 285 million people suffer from vision problems and 90 percent of them live in the developing countries. With this affordable invention, more visually impaired people will be able to buy a Braille printer.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think of Banerjee’s invention? Please explain your answer.
·         If you had a chance or capability, what device would you like to create?  Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         In your country, are there opportunities in schools for young people to innovate? Why is that so?
·         In your opinion, how can kids’ creativity and inventiveness be improved?


March 31, 2014