Michael has 45 years’ experience in research and development with a background that includes working on the Apollo Space Program with NASA and designing the first commercial portable Braille printer – recognized worldwide as the “Romeo Brailler”. Get to know him better in this article…
Mike (Michael) Romeo is without a doubt, the most experienced member of the Envision team. With an extensive background in R&D (Research and Development) and engineering, Mike’s portfolio is simply extraordinary. It’s quite the task to describe such an accomplished person within the confines of just one article, but we guarantee we’ll try our very best to give you insight on the person behind the name and the motivation for all he has accomplished.
Most people can’t imagine having the rainforest in their backyard, but for Mike, that was the reality in his formative years. Growing up in Panama, he had the unique experience of interacting and making friends with rainforest creatures like iguanas and sloths. This period of his life helped him develop a love for nature and biology, so much so that at one point he had considered becoming either a veterinarian, marine biologist, or forest ranger.
Mike grew up with his father who owned a TV repair shop. His father didn’t allow him to touch and be around the parts in the shop until he knew what they were and how to use them, therefore it became necessary for him to learn these things. It’s this experience that helped him develop a proclivity towards engineering. Mike moved with his family to Florida at the age of 6. During high school, he worked weekends at the local TV repair shop and was so knowledgeable that the boss would often bring people in for him to train/teach. After leaving high school, he went on to complete 2 years of technical school and 1 year of Engineering in college before being drafted to the Army. After a series of tests, he was assigned to the Technical division at Fort Monmouth, NJ. Mike moved around quite a bit during his time in the Army before eventually joining NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Mike believes we are all capable of doing anything we set our minds to. He has carried this philosophy with him his entire life, throughout the various stages of his career. One of his most notable accomplishments would be the Romeo Brailler (his name is on the patent). The Romeo Brailler is a palmtop computer device for blind people. It all started when a friend (Deane Blazie) reached out to Mike with a project, to create a stopwatch that his visually impaired friend (Tim Cranmer) could use as part of a project he was working on. Mike designed this little device, its PC board, and electronics then built it and had a jeweler gold-plate it so that it wouldn’t corrode. Surprisingly, it worked and Dean was inspired to create Blazie Engineering, a company that would design and produce devices like these to help the blind. While there Mike helped/led the development of a number of devices, including the Braille’n Speak (a palmtop computer), Braille Lite (an electronic Braille notetaker), a Braille printer, and, of course, the Romeo Brailler.
Aside from his momentous years at NASA and Blazie Engineering, Mike also spent time at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He considers his work at Johns Hopkins to be some of the most impactful as the technologies he developed were used to save and improve the lives of thousands of people. Now, he continues to pour all the knowledge he has amassed into new products and cutting-edge innovations as Chief Scientist at Envision.
Outside of working on new projects, Mike enjoys reading science and technology publications, and watching nature documentaries. He is married to his wife, Eileen, and they have three children, Maryann, Beth-Ann, and Matthew, who are all adults and live in Pennsylvania. While most people would use words like “innovative” and “genius” to describe him, if tasked with describing himself, Mike would say he’s honest (he doesn’t beat around the bush), driven, and quite simply a nerd.
Mike enjoys using his vast knowledge and experience to help entrepreneurs develop their dream products. His design talents encompass electronic circuitry, biochemistry, software, mechanical design, hydraulic systems, and the field of optics. He is self-taught in all these disciplines and has received several awards including the “Golden Key Award” from the National Federation of the Blind. If you’ve got a product you think the market needs, then reach out to Envision Product Development, to have our entire team, including Mike, help you take it from mind to market.