Esmeralda Medina is a Mechanical Engineering student at the Technological Institute of La Laguna in Torreon, Mexico, and also studies at the National College of Technical Professional Education (CONALEP).
She is an entrepreneur and inspirational leader who is passionate about social and educational inclusion, leveraging her technical skills to develop innovations that help those with disabilities.
In Mexico there are over 1.5 million people who have a visual disability yet only 5.4% know how to use the Braille system. This drove Esmeralda to work on projects or tools that improve the quality of life of people with visual disabilities and the impact of her projects has led to Esmeralda being recognized by a host of national and international organizations. She has also participated in entrepreneurship fairs, winning prestigious awards and monetary prizes to enable her to continue developing a prototype of her device.
She has now registered two patents for an “Interactive and fun Braille learning device" that enables one to learn the Braille system in an easy and accessible way. Esmeralda is self-taught in Braille and Mexican Sign Language, and continuously refines the design of her device, knowing that it has the potential to impact millions of people.
She is recognized by UNESCO in its "Stories that Inspire" program for her accessible technology projects, creating the first robotics club for blind children in her country, in addition to carrying out various volunteer activities. Her device was also awarded first place in the Coahuila Science and Engineering Fair 2021 and she is a member of the executive committee of the Scientific Outreach Network of Northern Mexico. Esmeralda is also a leader and mentor of a robotics team that participates in the international high school competition FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) where her team has participated since 2017 and recently won the Chairman's Award first prize.
She is part of the CONALEP robotics team and from her first year worked with young children, learning to teach robotics classes and also participating in many volunteer activities such as visiting hospitals to give robotics workshops to children with cancer, nursing home visits and raising money for cancer patients.
In 2020 she also started a leadership course in her city, forming teams dedicated to creating projects for the benefit of her community and aligning with the SDG objectives of sustainable development. This includes the INCLUYE-T project which seeks to promote and make visible Mexican Sign Language and the braille system in Mexican society, and also ensure that local businesses are inclusive and have a menus in Braille and so on.
She also organises conferences and Braille and sign language workshops, developed social networks and a website, and developed an app called IncludesT: Mexican Sign Language and Braille that currently has more than 1000 downloads.
In 2019 Esmeralda also created TIFLAG (TIFLOTECNOLOGÍA PARA LA LAGUNA), a robotics team of five people dedicated to researching projects or technologies that can be easily accessible and at low cost for people with visual disabilities. During the 2020 pandemic they collaborated with a team from Mexico to record educational video blogs aimed at children from elementary to high school with experiments or book reviews to support learning from home during lockdowns.