3D Print Your Own Beautiful Storybook for the Blind

The Tactile Picture Books Project was launched by computer science professor Tom Yeh and students at the University of Colorado Boulder. With assistance from 3D Hubs, the team have developed a method for turning famous children’s books, such as ‘Goodnight Moon’ and ‘Noah’s Ark’, into 3d printed versions that enrich the experience of hearing stories for blind and visually impaired children, while also supporting their cognitive development.

The books are aimed at young preschool children who do not yet know braille. Each page tells a story through a combination of braille text mixed with 3d images. As the children begin to learn braille, they might be able to recognize some of the texts, but the 3d printed pictures of objects help to develop their literacy along the way.

Professor Yeh explains, “The main idea is to represent 2D graphics in a 3D, tactile way on a scale appropriate for young children. The team combines this information with computational algorithms — essentially step-by-step instructions for mathematical calculations — to provide a way for parents, teachers and supporters to 3D print their own picture books.”

As part of their partnership with Hubs, the project hope to expand the reach of their book series so that people can order and print their own books through this network of over 25,000 independent printers. If you already own a 3d printer, you can download digital files from the Tactile Picture Books Library free of charge and 3d print your own beautiful storybook.