How A Beautiful 3D Printing Project Aims To Revolutionize Classic Tales For Blind Children
Anyone who has ever worked with visually impaired people knows how difficult it can be to describe what we see. When working with children this becomes an even bigger challenge because a large amount of books contain illustrations. Often these pictures work in unison with the accompanying text. When reading a story to a blind child there is a missing element when it comes to translating the illustrations into words.
Researchers at the University of Colorado have started a beautiful project that aims to take away the brunt of these challenges by embracing 3D printing technology. The goal of the project is to convert flat illustrations into tactile illustrations, which allows children with visual impairments to let the picture physically guide them and experience and understand classic picture books in a totally new way.
Most kids start reading book by observing and exploring pictures with their eyes and as they start learning to read, words starts working in unison with pictures. For visually impaired children this is different, because they don’t use sight to explore, but rather the sense of touch.
In order to create a solution for tactile exploration the project implements algorithms in order to convert the images into 3D-printed books. Nowadays the process of raising pictures in books is done by manually pasting and raising the picture. Although the results are beautiful, it is also very labor-intensive and expensive.
By using algorithms the process can be automated and made easier for parents in the future. It is not unlikely the future will grant parents and teachers the possibility to make a scan of picture and use a 3D printer to make a 3D printed book that visually impaired children can experience. The beauty of using working with technology and algorithms is that you can customize the books, because every child generally has his or her unique visual impairment issues.
This project will help all these children to get a better feel for the world around them and experience a wider variety of children’s books. It will allow them to better understand what illustrations are trying to tell them and give them a unique way of transferring the illustrator’s visualization.