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« Science: December 2014 | Main | Science: February 2015 »

Science

Braille Printer Made of Legos

He's 13, and he's already better than all of us combined. Link

Shubham built a Braille printer with a Lego robotics kit as a school science fair project last year after he asked his parents a simple question: How do blind people read? "Google it," they told him.

Shubham then did some online research and was shocked to learn that Braille printers, also called embossers, cost at least $2,000 -- too expensive for most blind readers, especially in developing countries.

...

After the "Braigo" -- a name that combines Braille and Lego -- won numerous awards and enthusiastic support from the blind community, Banerjee started Braigo Labs last summer with an initial $35,000 investment from his dad.
...

Intel executives were so impressed with Shubham's printer that in November they invested an undisclosed sum in his startup. Intel officials believe he's the youngest entrepreneur to receive venture capital, money invested in exchange for a financial stake in the company.

I love how his mom was at first not supportive of his idea. She was prolly annoyed with him for taking up space on her dining table with his Legos.


By min | January 22, 2015, 8:37 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



Boring Auntie had better start spicing up her stories

From the September 2014 Scientific American, in an interview article fretting about our growing inability to turn off the technology around us:

This disrupts the family, too. When Boring Auntie starts to talk at the family dinner table, her little niece pulls out her phone and goes on Facebook. All of a sudden her world is populated with snowball fights and ballerinas. And dinner is destroyed. Dinner used to be the utopian ideal of the American family having a canonical three-generation gathering. Facebook is what's utopian now.

And...

There's no authentic exchange. You're saying empathy is not important to the feeling of being understood. And yet I interviewed a woman who said to me that she's okay with a robot boyfriend. She wants one of those sophisticated Japanese robots. I looked at her and said, "You know that it doesn't understand you." She said, "Look, I just want civility in the house. I just want something that will make me feel not alone."

People are also good with a robot that could stand in as a companion for an older person. But I take a moral position here because older people deserve to tell the story of their life to someone who understands what a life is. They've lost spouses; they've lost children. We're suggesting they tell the story of their life to something that has no idea was a life is or what a loss is.

I never had these utopian family dinners and i never had Facebook, so a lot of what this article is saying sounds crazy to me. But i do know that one day me and Min are going to be old, and we don't have any kids, so we're going to need that robot companion. We were thinking it could be dog shaped.


By fnord12 | January 13, 2015, 2:28 PM | My stupid life & Science | Comments (2)| Link



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