3DPhotoWorks LLC said it has announced a 3D printing process that allows blind people to “see” fine art, diagrams, and other images.
This recently patented process converts any conventional painting, drawing, collage or photograph into a 3D Tactile Fine Art Print. Prints have length, width, depth, and texture and are available in sizes up to 60″ x 120″.
The company has devoted seven years to the development of this exciting new technology with the goal of making art and photography available to blind people at every museum, science center and institution, first in the United States and then worldwide.
Inspired by research conducted by neuroscientist Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita of the University of Wisconsin, 3D tactile printing is based on the concept of neuroplasticity. As Dr. Bach-y-Rita´s research within the blind community confirms, “The brain is able to use tactile information coming from the fingertips as if it were coming from the eyes. That´s because we don´t see with our eyes or hear with our ears, these are just the receptors, seeing and hearing in fact goes on in the brain.”
Using their fingertips, the blind experience 3D Tactile Fine Art Prints through tactile feedback. This feedback creates a mental picture that allows them to “see” the art, often for the first time. To further assist in creating a “mental picture,” sensors are embedded throughout the prints that when touched, activate custom audio that describes what is transpiring at that exact coordinate.