A project log for Knobo

An Intuitive and Compact Device That Helps the Visually Impaired Learn Braille.

Gary PengGary Peng 10/01/2019 at 06:410 Comments

While I may be a high schooler, I'm no stranger to bringing product from prototype to production, which is proven by the two successful Kickstarter campaigns I ran for my other products.

For Knobo, the electronics will be manufactured overseas while the enclosure will be manufactured by a local 3D printing company.

Here are the estimated cost for the production of one unit:

Electrical components + 3D print material: ~$10

PCB Assembly: A $25 machine setup fee (one time fee for any amount of PCBs) + ~$5/PCB

3D printing: ~3 hrs

Hand Soldering (for key-switches and rotary encoder) and final assembly: 5-10 min


There is currently no products on the market that takes advantage of computer text-to-speech technology to enable and encourage the visually impaired to learn Braille independently. 

However, a secondary feature of Knobo is that it acts as an alternative to standard keyboard and traditional Braille writers. In that sense, according to the San Diego Braille Institute, Knobo is better than traditional Braille writer in that it's far more compact and lightweight, have an additional scrolling / reading knob, and above all, extremely intuitive. During my user testing at the Braille institute, visually impaired people where able to start typing out sentence using Knobo right away, where as they had to go through a steep learning curve before using a standard keyboard or a traditional Braille writer.