3D printing gives precious memories to the blind

A heart melting story from Italy shows how 3D printing technology can touch to our lives… The model was printed with Zortrax M200.

Article by: Nick Hall

Source: 3D Printing Industry

click here to discover more Zortrax M200.

A visually impaired couple in Italy have turned to 3D printing to help bring the memories of their childhood back to life and effectively create a photo for the visually impaired.

She only wanted to see his face

It started with a simple concept, Miki wanted to see her new fiance’s face when he was a small boy. Her senses allow her to build a mental image of anybody she can touch, but most women want to know what their boyfriend looked like as a child.

This would be simple enough, except she lost her sight at a young age. Domenico had an idea, though, and he set about making the perfect engagement present.

Converting an old photo is no easy task

He took a picture to local Como artist and digital sculptor Simone Rasetti. He asked him to turn a photo of the then 5-month-old child into a digital representation. That is easier said than done.

The 40-year-old photo lacked the resolution of a modern digital file, so the artist had to make use of the ZBrush software suite to effectively build a virtual sculpture of the younger Domenico from the basic information on the paper picture.

It works for buildings too

A visually impaired person might never get to visit a famous monument. Even if they can then it is too much to analyse with their hands, it’s just too big. To really appreciate a building we need to stand further back and look at it from a distance. We need a sense of perspective.

A blind person’s perspective can come from a scaled down model. They could hold the Eifel Tower in their hands, or the Statue of Liberty, and really get a feel for some of the wonders this world has to offer.

Models can show the whole world to the blind

Even the basics, like a car, or a tree, can be easier to understand with a small model. So this heart warming story about a couple in love has a wider application. 3D printing can help the blind to see the world in their own unique way.