The introduction of 3d printing technology has been a pivotal moment in many industries. We are making 3d homes, 3d toys, parts, and what not. It is boasting of helping us with 3d printed organs, with more efficient airplanes, and with the process of automotive production. What the industry didn’t see coming was the effects of this technology for people who are visually impaired. 3d printing technology can bring a huge change in their lives and give them the power to perform everyday tasks with more ease and comfort. Here are some examples of how people are helping the visually impaired:

Learning the Shapes

A father of 8 found this technology to be his inspiration to show the world to his blind daughter. He started teaching his daughter more about the surroundings by using his home 3d printer. He prints different items on his home 3d printer so his daughter can learn about shapes, quantities and develop her perceptions of the world around her. There’s a lot that can be taught to children using additive manufacturing technology, whether it’s the difference between an apple and an orange, or newton’s theory of relativity.

Educational Tools

Visual impairment is a big obstacle to children in schools and their learning process. But a teacher from Sonoma County Office found a way around this obstacle. His visually impaired children facing challenges in learning so he overcame those problems by using 3d printing technology.  He came up with the simple idea of printing small scale models with cut outlines of letters and shapes. This way the children easily remember the shapes and can replicate them whenever asked.

Memories are Eternal

School means among other things, new people and new friends. Visually impaired people “meet you” through the smell, the sound of your voice and touch. It’s alright as long as the school is on, but what about when school is over? How can the students remember their friends after they have left school? To make sure that the blind students’ memories remain alive in their minds, the Seoul National School for the blind 3d Printed yearbooks. Now the students can always recall their friends whenever they want.

Reading was never this Fun

Reading always stimulates your imagination. Whenever we read something, we make mental images of the words that we read. Usually we have some kind of a hint about what the character looks like, or what was the environment. The character can usually be found on the cover, and it depends on the author to develop the scenery and explain it to the reader so that they build their own image. We build images according to whatever information we already have in our minds. What if we don’t have any information in our minds? What can we do then? People are making 3d printed models of illustrations made to help the blind people not only listen to the story but also imagine the story. Now even the blind people can align their imagination to the author’s vision.

Know where you are?

Another interesting project is 3d printed maps of different places to help the visually impaired. The fineness, the precision of the maps and its robust quality all make it the best supplement for blind people to understand their surroundings whether at home, at work, or travelling somewhere.

There are a lot of 3d printing companies out there, doing a lot of good, innovative work. Our task is to make sure that we use this opportunity to its fullest capacity and not let it go to waste.