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3D printed display makes maps for the blind

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Linespace is a tactile display system that 3D prints information onto a screen for the visually impaired to read.

One major difficulty for visually impaired users is accessing maps and complicated graphics. But a new development is making it easier for blind people to comprehend visualizations through 3D printed display. Linespace is a tactile display system which creates raised lines that blind and partially sighted people can read.

Developed by designers at the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Germany, Linespace uses a 3D printer to squeeze liquid plastic into raised lines that the user can feel, and has a scraper on the print head that can remove the lines. Linespace gives blind users access to software normally only sighted people can use, such as Microsoft Excel, which it will turn into touchable spreadsheets. It features a large display of 140×100 cm, allowing for a lot of content to be presented at once, and the use of lines rather than braille enables the display to create complicated shapes.

What other developments in 3D printing could make the technology available for all?

Email: patrick.baudisch@hpi.uni-potsdam.de

Website: hpi.de

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