Blind and visually impaired children will now be able to experience classic picture books likeGoodnight Moon and Harold and the Purple Crayon with the help of 3D printing
Researchers at the University of Colorado have created a new project that can convert standard picture books into 3D-printed pages, letting children with visual impairments follow the raised illustrations by touch as the stories are read aloud.
The center’s executive director, Alice Applebaum, told Mashable that books that can be read by touch — tactile books — are central to the education of vision impaired children.
“We often add texture to books; we have a room here where we add braille and things that children can feel to stories,” she said. “It’s just like when we learn how to read with our eyes, but they’re learning with all their other senses.”
Since many children don’t start reading braille until age 6, this program has given kids the chance to read with their families at even younger ages and get used to exploring with their hands.
“It is one more opportunity for visually impaired children to experience literacy in an expanded way,” Applebaum said. “Will it make them better readers? Not necessarily, but it will make them more aware of what the world looks like.”