Braille is the tactile writing system with raised dots used by blind people. This writing system is now scaled up to a new level with the aid of 3D printing. A team from the University of Colorado Boulder have used 3D printing to create tactile versions of the popular books for the blind children. Tom Yeh – a computer science professor at the university – started the Tactile Picture Books Project to create customized solutions for young readers whose needs aren’t met by conventional publishing method.
The team has created the famous stories like ‘THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR’ written by Eric Carle and ‘ NOAH’S ARK ‘ – story from bible along with some puzzles and maps.These creations consist of the projected 3D images of the story with the braille text underneath , all created by 3D printing.
“The main idea 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 – essentially step-by-step instructions for mathematical calculations – to provide a way for parents, teachers and supporters to 3D-print their own picture books.”
Instead of making a model which was beautiful and interesting to the pair of eyes, the team considered the needs of others in an attempt to make something useful and educational to a pair of hands. Open-source digital files of the picture books are available to download from the Tactile Picture Books library, allowing anyone with access to a 3D printer to create them free of charge.