Another day, another innovative use of 3-D printing technology. A team from the University of Colorado Boulder has been using the tech to print 3-D versions of popular picture books with braille text, giving parents and educators a cost-effective way of providing more appropriate materials for visually-impaired children.
Professor Tom Yeh, who teaches computer science at the university, spearheaded the Tactile Books Project. The pages of each book, which recreate classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Noah’s Ark, include both braille text and an accompanying 3-D image, designed by Yeh’s team.
“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.”
The books are available via open source digital files, downloadable from the Tactile Books Project online library, making it cheap and easy for anyone with access to a 3-D printer to begin building their own small, three-dimensional collection.