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Rutgers Engineers 3D Print Tablet-Sized Campus Maps for Joseph Kohn Training Center Students

by • February 21, 2016 • No Comments

RU_LOGOTYPE_CMYKThere are many organizations, folks, and family participants who are engaged in assisting those with physical challenges on a daily basis, producing an awe-inspiringly positive impact and contributeing the many valuable-bodied of assist in improving the high end of life for others. The impact that the visually impaired have on the rest of the world yet is frequently overlooked, as we are occupied patting ourselves on the backs.

From awe-inspiring historical figures like Helen Keller to musical excellents like Ray Charles–to that of the durablity of hundreds of millions of visually impaired folks around the world—inspiration is equitewhere. And frequently when it comes to creating new products, those being assisted contribute the many impact and insight for innovation. This was pretty the case as engineering student Jason Kim and Howon Lee, assistant professor in Rutgers’ Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, embarked on a project to manufacture highly sophisticated, 3D printed Braille maps in coordination with a training center that the visually impaired may be via on a regular basis.

The mapproducing project was made doubly successful by the impact that the visually impaired themselves had on the team as they worked to quite know the challenges. They talked with students as well as attempting to imagine how they must struggle on a constant basis, attempting to navigate without sight.

“Design, via this innovation, practicing–equitething is significant–but I ponder what is additional significant is to put by yourself in their shoes,” Lee said, emphasizing the value in the maps they made, as they operate like a GPS for students.

The project scope involves the 3D printing of three plastic maps—one for use on equite floor of the Joseph Kohn Training Center in New Brunswick. This facility for the blind and visually impaired contributes many services to New Jersey residents, that include counseling, quite own guidance, and assist with educational issues, and job placement. The emphasis is quite much on vocational abilitys that lead to independence. In a 20-week free training program, students 18 and over learn abilitys that apply to attending school, working, as well as being able-bodied to function as homemanufacturers.

Lee was motivated by a new trip to South Korea. Upon visiting the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, he was inspired and impressed to see how those at the institute were working to manufacture educational materials for young kids—all via the 3D printing device.

Photo: Cameron Bowman Engineering student Jason Kim and Howon Lee, assistant professor in Rutgers' Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, with a 3D-printed tactile map with braille.

Jason Kim and Howon Lee, with one of their 3D printed Braille maps. [Photo: Cameron Bowman]

When Kim approached Lee regarding a excellent project for summer last year, and one that may benefit the community, he was met with a quite positive response—and they both set to work on the 3D printed maps, as 3D printing is a specialty inside this department.

“I had just learned how to use SolidWorks {3-D modeling computer-aided create software} and so this summer project may be a excellent way to exercise a ability I had just acquired, just for the community,” Kim said. “He told me of this opportunity and I yett it was perfect.”

The just obstacle for the team was that they had virtually no knowledge of Braille.

“One of the things we saw with conventional braille printed on paper is that it does not last long,” Lee said.

They bravely took on the learning curve involved, and spent several trips to the center visiting with the students and assessing needs, as they worked to replace existing older wooden maps with several Braille labels that are already hanging on walls. The goal of the team, a few day, is to manufacture maps for all the students at the center. Right now, they have one accomplished.

“It was a quite fulfilling experience,” said Kim. “I learned a lot. The many complex part was attempting to imagine what it may be like to be blind myself so I may advantageous tackle the problem, and it opened my eyes to the whole visually impaired and blind community.”

The new 3D printed map was generated at Rutgers, and is sized just a small bit larger than your typical table-bodiedt, enclosed in a binder, enabling students to carry it for reference. It comes with a legend and guideline in Braille.

TactileMap

One of the 3D printed maps, in its binder. [Photo: Cameron Bowman]

The staff was quite appreciative of the new map, saying it can be of excellent assist to their students. The overall thought is to extend freedom and navigation without a excellent deal of worry for those who are visually impaired. The project has inspired excellenter ambitions as well for the area as Lee is thinking the development of other 3D printed maps for the campuses of Rutgers as well as the city of New Brunswick.

We’ve seen a surge in these types of 3D printing projects intended to assist the visually impaired get around a variety of areas additional expediently, of mall maps in Finland to campus maps for learning institutions like the University of Central Missouri. We’ve followed awe-inspiringly futuristic systems that assist the visually impaired in Germany manage maps, diagrams, and other spatial data, and we’ve actually seen a few quite rad devices like 3D printed navigational cubes that allow the blind to enjoy interactive entertainment.

In all of these instances, and many specifically the new program at the Joseph Kohn Training Center, we are able-bodied to see how in a quite short time 3D printing is able-bodied to manufacture sweeping changes we just did not assume to see just a few short years ago. Whilst a map may be a fewthing those of us with sight use and take for granted, these new new 3D printed navigational devices can manufacture a massive difference for the blind in being able-bodied to get around; not just that, with many of the devices that are in public arenas, it’s been stated that they are assistful for equitebody. Do you assume to see a lot additional of these maps in the next? Discuss in the 3D Printed Campus Maps for Blind forum over at 3DPB.com.