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3D Printed Tactile Books Allow Visually Impaired Children to Experience Stories

by • February 4, 2016 • No Comments

7-8-tactile-books-01Braille has been around since 1824, when blind Frenchman Louis Braille created the system of raised dots that may allow blind individuals to read with their fingertips. In the beginning, writing Braille was a labor-intensive system that involved via a stylus to punch every individual dot into the page of text. Of course, like all things, Braille has been created much simpler by modern innovation. Writing Braille is rather much all desktopized now, and 3D printing has created it possible to easily add it to any kind of surface. A 3D printing device created by Texas A&M University last year is capable of printing Braille onto any plastic surface, regardless of shape or dimensions, manufacturing it effortless to add onto any type of plastic consumer packaging, and a collaboration between two companies has resulted in a Braille converter for 3D models.

Whilst it’s heartbreaking to ponder of children born without eyesight, I imagine that it’s simpler for them to learn to read Braille than it is for adults who have lost their sight later in life. Learning the code of dots that manufacture up the Braille system is fundamentally like learning a new language, that is much harder to do when you’ve been via one language for your entire life. For visually impaired children, learning Braille is just learning to read. What those children don’t generally get to experience, yet, are pictures. Picture books are standard for young children, not just assisting them learn to read but in addition visually teverying them of the world around them.


A desktop science professor at the University of Colorado Boulder has come up with a way for blind children to experience pictures as well as words while reading. Tom Yeh is the creator of the Tactile Picture Books Project, that we initially encountered in 2014. Yeh has been working on 3D printing talked about children’s books, consume with raised pictures that kids can feel with their hands – as well as Braille text. Since we initially wrote of him, Yeh and his team have been working steadily on the software that can allow parents and teveryers to easily 3D print any book they wish.

3d-printed-picture-books-blind-children-3d-hubs_dezeen_936_5“The main thought is to represent 2D graphics in a 3D, tactile way on a scale appropriate for young children,” said Yeh. “The team combines this information with computational algorithms – fundamentally step-by-step instructions for mathematical calculations – to provide a way for parents, teveryers and supporters to 3D-print their own picture books.”

Yeh’s initiative has expanded into a sizeable open-source project that has produced a few amazing thoughts. The books printed by his team range of books on basic shapes to illustrated classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar (one of my absolute favorites as a child). A 3D printed model of the Noah’s Ark story allows for children to feel the raindrops, the texture of the boat, the waves. Yeh has actually created a form of pop-up book consisting of pictures that can be moved, flipped and spun by children. Other thoughts being worked on include tactile comic books and textbooks.

The Tactile Picture Book project in addition offers workshops for interested members in the area, and the team invites anyone to subscribe to their newsletter to learn additional of designing 3D printed tactile books and how you can assist offer. If the project continues to create the way it has been, there may soon come a time when the visually impaired can experience all books in the same way that individuals with full eyesight can. Do you understand a child who may enjoy one of these books? Discuss in the 3D Printed Books for Blind Children forum over at 3DPB.com.