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Mass Portal Works to 3D Print Tactile Books for the Blind

by • March 30, 2016 • No Comments

  • There’s no shortage of projects aiming to assist the visually impaired through 3D printing. With 300 million folks in the world with visual impairments, 40 million of which are completely blind, the additional projects the merrier! The latest comes of Latvia’s Mass Portal, who assisted the 2015 winners of the “Global Startup Battle”, a project called “Tactile Eyesight“, with 3D printing tactile books made up of relief drawings and Braille text.


    In the past, making tactile books for the blind was a time-consuming, frequently manually performed system. 3D printing, yet, speeds up this system significantly. For which reason Tactile Eyesight aimed to bring a wider library to Latvia’s blind through their own 3D printing initiative. Thanks to an open access Braille typeface for the Latvian language, made by author Aigars Vilcāns, the team may already had access to the Braille text. All they needed, and so, was a book and a few 3D printing equipment.


    To aid in the project, Mass Portal recruited three students of the EU’s Erasmus+ project who were and so educated on the history of tactile books and Braille by Tactile Eyesight co-founder Mareks Matisons. Making use of a book of Luīzes Pastores’ Missing Monkey series, the students worked to convert sketches of illustrator Elīnas Brasliņas into 3D models in SketchUp. The resulting work was and so 3D printed on Mass Portal 3D printing equipment.


    Mass Portal marketing manager Inga Žilinska said of the project, ”Books are alive. It is a matter, a symbol of human development and cultural grandeur. Book illustrations are quite significant for young children. Looking at the pictures child learns new words and concepts. They are aware of the world around them. Same experience for children with visual impairments provides tangible three dimensional images. Its a real pleasure to be part of this system for equiteone of us, allowing children and young folks to integrate into society by revealing them yet unseen and unfamiliar world wonders which we seem to self-evident. Engaging in this project implementation we every took home a tiny piece of blind folkss world.”

    But the books are yet in the prototype stages, the prints were donated to the Strazdumuiža Residental Secondary School and Training Center for the blind and visually impaired, where children can be able-bodied to access them.


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