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Physicist 3D Prints Interactive Maps for Visually Impaired Children

This DIY-lover 3D printed interactive maps to teach visually impaired children geography.

The little things in everyday life that we take for granted can actually represent big problems for people with disabilities. Since, sadly, cities and most tools are not designed with disabled people in mind, they tend to be left outside of it. However, there is nothing an innovative mind and 3D printing can't do to make sure these things are accessible to everyone.

In one such case, physicist Sergei V. Bogdanov decided to construct a series of interactive electronic and non-electronic educational gadgets for impaired people after visiting a boarding school for visually impaired children.

SEE ALSO: STUDENT DESIGNS HANDHELD 'ROBOTIC GUIDE DOG' FOR THE BLIND

In case you haven't noticed, most educational materials are in visual nature: from maps to blackboards, we tend to rely on our eyes a lot. This causes difficulty in learning for those with a visual impairment, especially in the case of geography.

After seeing the undeveloped situation of the geography maps and mathematical graphs in a boarding school in Moscow, Sergei set on a journey of 3D printing. His team produced maps with psychical contours that the students could feel the border instead of seeing them. They added the curves of the equator, tropics, and polar circles too.

Physicist 3D Prints Interactive Maps for Visually Impaired Children
Source: Sergei V. Bogdanov/Hackaday

Their next step was to produce an interactive educational device. This was because topological 3D maps can be difficult to comprehend for visually impaired people since there was too much to input at once. Their device is aimed at solving this: It has a world map and includes information about countries, cultures, and more.

Physicist 3D Prints Interactive Maps for Visually Impaired Children
Source: Sergei V. Bogdanov/Hackaday

The way it works is relatively simple. Sergei wrote, "We use HC-SR04 Ultrasonic sensor to detect the motion near the Map to switch the Map in the work mode." When the sensor detects someone that is close, it invites them to use it by saying "You can press or pull up any continent out of the map".

This is a neat idea that can help visually impaired children greatly when or if put in use by teachers, schools, and disabilities groups and organizations.

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