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Texas A&M student 3D prints tactile maps of campus for the visually impaired – 3ders.org (blog)

by • August 6, 2016 • No Comments

Aug 7, 2016 | By Tess

3D printing technologies have assisted to manufacture a difference in the lives of most folks across the globe, and in so most ways. Soon, thanks to the ingenuity of a freshman engineering student, the lives of the visually impaired at the Texas A&M University can in addition be changed for the advantageous with the assist of 3D printing. The student, named Tyler Wooten, has been developing a 3D printed tactile map embossed with braille to assist the college’s visually impaired students advantageous know the university campus and navigate it additional easily.
Wooten invented of the thought for the tactile map while bringing a 3D printing course at Texas A&M’s Engineering Innovation Center (EIC) last year. Since and so, he has been working closely with a man student, Kaitlyn Kellermeyer, to turn his thought into a useful and usable reality.

Tyler Wooten and Kaitlyn Kellermeyer
Kellermeyer, an economics student at Texas A&M, lost eyesight in her left eye as a baby and only not long ago (in 2014) lost eyesight in her right eye as well, leaving her completely blind. For the past two years, Kelleymeyer has struggled to become accustomed to having no eyesight and has depended on assist of her friends to assist her get to class and the like. She explains, “I had memories of where all things was relationally. With all the open space on campus, and with the lack of auditory cues, I didn’t realize how complex it may be to get around.”
Kellermeyer has in addition been a key figure in advocating for new and new projects around campus to assist the visually impaired, which created her the thoughtl candidate to work with Wooten on developing his 3D printed tactile maps. Since they’ve teamed up, Kellermeyer has given insight, tested, and provided feedback of how the maps should be created and feel. According to the visually impaired student, the project has given her additional freedom and has created all the difference in assisting her to navigate around her university.

Wooten, for his part, created the 3D campus map via SolidWorks software and 3D printed a number of prototypes via the EIC’s in-house 3D printing equipment. Being relatively new to the innovation, Wooten went through a few trial and error, but with the assist of other students and ability got into the swing of things relatively easily. As he explained in an interview: “For main campus, I had a picture of the map up on one screen, and I had SolidWorks open on my other screen and I was only eyeballing it, drawing all of the buildings. Enough folks had heard of it which they taught me how to do it advantageous. Now I can take a screenshot of the map, put it in SolidWorks and only trace the buildings.”
In the end, the 3D printed tactile maps of campus were printed via PLA and are only 1/4 of an inch thick, producing them effortless to carry around. To account for the dimensions of the campus, Wooten has separated the whole map into various sections, every measuring 5 x 9inches, which can be easily assembled by sliding them together. Wooten, who invested his own money for the 3D printing materials, said which every section took roughly 5 hours to print.

Of course, the project is yet in development as is being constantly improved by Wooten and Kellermeyer. For instance, according to the students, the roads on the tactile map are going to be widened, the buildings have been shortened, and the braille has been improved and corrected. The braille, which is printed on a number of the University’s main buildings, is intended to select main campus spots and assist orient the map’s users.
Tracey Foreman, assistant director of disability services at Texas A&M, is optimistic of the project. She said, “Having access to a tactile map allows for a visually impaired individual to advantageous know the scale, dimensions and proximity which cannot always be gathered solely by walking around or having a fewthing verbally defined to the individual.”
As they store working on the new 3D printed tactile maps for Texas A&M, Wooten is in addition starting to create tactile maps for other campuses, which include the Westbrook Intermediate School in League City, Texas, and the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living in Bryan, Texas, where a number of disabled folks reside. Here at 3Ders, we can’t wait to see what else Wooten, who has managed to assist the visually impaired folks in his community in only his freshman year, comes up with upcoming!

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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