IIT student works to create a portable braille printer

Kaviraj Prithvi from IIT Guwahati has come up with an invention that will prove to be beneficial for many. Read more about it in this part of Changemakers.

Last Updated on February 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

In her autobiography ‘The Story of My Life‘, Helen Keller wrote, “But I was too young to realize what had happened. When I awoke and found that all was dark and still, I suppose I thought it was night, and I must have wondered why day was so long coming”. When she was only a year and a half old, Keller fell seriously ill and eventually turned mute and deaf. But she never gave up. And today, the world remembers her for donning many hats. This includes that of a prolific author who has penned many books. Her autobiography became very popular and has been translated into several languages.

It is important to mention Helen Keller here. This is because we become depressed with our shortcomings and ignore our qualities. Also, there are times when we are able to empathise with others and do something for them that proves to be a blessing for several others.  

Understanding others’ pain

Kaviraj Prithvi, a 20-year-old student from IIT Guwahati, hailing from Bengaluru, was in search of an idea for his project. During this time, he got a chance to visit a school for children with visual disabilities. There he realised that students face a lot of inconvenience in their studies without a braille printer. Braille printers are expensive in India since they are imported, and one machine costs between $2,000 – $3,000 (Rs 1,50,000 – Rs 2,50,000). Prithvi said, “I wanted to make braille printers at a cheaper price so that everybody could avail them. It was one of these reasons why Prithvi Systems and Innovations was founded in 2020”. 

“Braille printers made by Prithvi Innovations are 20 to 30 times cheaper than the imported ones. It is currently in a prototype stage. The device can efficiently run at a stretch for eight to 12 months without any problem”, he added. 

How does the portable printer work?

The name of this new braille printer is ‘Tactall’, and it is a portable device in the form of a mouse. It receives data from computer-related devices and then translates them into braille on paper through solenoid. The speciality of this printer is that it can print on any kind of paper as against the ordinary braille printers that only work with A4-size sheets. “We are hoping to complete the braille printer’s testing by January 2023 and launch the device by April”, Prithvi said.

Braille printer

Prithvi’s team at Prithvi Systems and Innovations has around 15 people. This year, they were awarded for the ‘Best Social Impact Business Idea’ at SmartIDEAthon, one of India’s biggest social innovation pitch events. The team is currently working on more innovations, such as a blood-pressure monitor and unique wheelchair.

“We will start our testing at the same school which I had visited last year. We are happy that our effort will help disabled people”, Prithvi said.

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