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Indian-origin boy working with Microsoft to launch low-cost Braille printer ‘Braigo’ in November

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Shubham Banerjee, a 13-year-old Indian-origin boy, who had invented a low cost portable Braille printer using his Lego toys, is working with IT giant Microsoft to integrate his invention with Windows to make it easily accessible to the visually impaired.

Shubham is an eighth grade student of Santa Clara school in California. He has already started his own company Braigo Labs, which made him the youngest entrepreneur of the world.

His mother Malini is the president of the company and father Neil is Shubham’s mentor.

“I discovered that typical Braille printers cost about $2,000 (about Rs 126,000) or even more, and I felt that was unnecessarily expensive for someone already at a disadvantage,” Banerjee said.

“So, I put my brain to work, and the first thing that came to mind was to create an alternative using my favorite toy,” he added.

The new printer is cheap and consumer friendly, and is 75% lower in price than that of the existing ones.

He has also got an invitation from Microsoft to showcase his new printer Braigo 2.0.

“Our relationship with Microsoft will help Braigo achieve a seamless experience for a visually-impaired person who wants to use a computer at home or at the office to print documents for offline reading,” said Banerjee.

“Also, think about the banks, the government institutions or even the libraries where Windows-based computers are widely used. They will all benefit from having a Braigo to provide accessibility services to their visually impaired customers,” he added.

According to a report, the new product will be available in the market soon with a price tag of $500.

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Blind Facebook employee is developing tech for sightless

At Facebook, he works on features to help people with disabilities use the platform.

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Pixabay
  • A blind Facebook employee is developing AI to make social network for sightless fun
  • He is developing AI which will verbalise images and videos
  • This technology will enable alt-text for images and videos

A blind Facebook employee is developing a technology that will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to verbalise the content of an image or video and enable the visually impaired to “see” and determine appropriate content for people and advertisers.

Facebook engineer Matt King is leading a project that is making solutions for visually impaired people on the platform that could eventually be used to identify images and videos that violate Facebook’s terms of use or that advertisers want to avoid.

Also Read : Facebook might bring Stories on desktop 

This feature will verbalise images and videos for the visually impaired. Image Source: Reuters
This feature will verbalise images and videos for the visually impaired. Image Source: Reuters

“More than two billion photos are shared across Facebook every single day. That’s a situation where a machine-based solution adds a lot more value than a human-based solution ever could,” CNBC quoted King as saying late on Saturday.

King, who was born with a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, lost his vision by the time he got his degree and started working at IBM with the tech giant’s accessibility projects.

He worked on a screen reader to help visually impaired people “see” what is on their screens either through audio cues or a braille device. IBM eventually developed the first screen reader for a graphical interface.

He worked with the accessibility team till Facebook hired him from IBM in 2015.

The man behind this development is Matt King.
The man behind this development is Matt King.

At Facebook, he works on features to help people with disabilities use the platform, like adding captions to videos or coming up with ways to navigate the site using only audio cues.

“Anybody who has any kind of disability can benefit from Facebook. They can develop beneficial connections and understand their disability doesn’t have to define them, to limit them,” King said.

Also Read : Facebook Profit Escalates with No Major Impact from Russia and it’s Advertisements

One of his main projects is “automated alt-text,” which describes audibly what is in Facebook images.

When automated alt-text was launched in April 2016, it was only available in five languages on the iOS app. Today it is available in over 29 languages on Facebook on the web, iOS and Android.

Facebook is available in more than 29 languages across the world. Pixabay
Facebook is available in more than 29 languages across the world. Pixabay

“The things people post most frequently kind of has a limited vocabulary associated with it,” the Facebook engineer said.

“It makes it possible for us to have one of those situations where if you can tackle 20 per cent of the solution, it tackles 80 per cent of the problem. It’s getting that last 20 per cent which is a lot of work, but we’re getting there,” he said.

In December 2017, Facebook pushed an automatic alt-text update that used facial recognition to help visually impaired people find out who is in photos. IANS