Tag Archives: children

3D Printing Brings Picture Books to All

4 Jul

One of the important issues people in publishing often discuss is access: access to published materials despite the technology gap, wealth disparity, occasionally something called being “print-disabled,” and being actually disabled. This modern world of ours is increasingly ruled by touch-enabled, smooth, flat screens, but we don’t always think about the fact that these mediums are excluding the blind or sight-impaired. Traditional books are intrinsically exclusive in the same way, but braille has allowed words to transcend that sight-specific medium.

But what of picture books?

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3D printing is poised to be a huge part of redesigning these books into tactile experiences for the blind and sight-impaired. Right now, 3D printing lends itself to children’s books, allowing kids to follow the pictures along with their fingers as the story is read to them aloud. Sometimes formed as shapes and pictures those with sight can easily recognize, and sometimes assembled as a string of geometric shapes kids can assemble in their minds, these tactile stories are a lovely way to be more inclusive, in an increasing exclusive and siloed publishing industry.

I can’t predict how intricate or in-depth this 3D story-printing can get, but I figure there’s someone out there trying hard to make this technology work for graphic novels. Perhaps dual panels, one set up much like a script, with the braille text attributed to certain characters, the other panel with the tactile representation of pictures. Or something like that. I’m going to keep my ear to the ground about developments on this front, and please feel free to float some knowledge my way if you’ve got an insider scoop.

You can peek back at another of my posts about 3D printing in publishing, and read more about its role in kids’ picture books and the current research being done below:

1. http://mashable.com/2014/07/03/3d-printed-book/

2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2679393/Now-FEEL-Cat-Hat-Researchers-use-3D-printing-help-blind-children-enjoy-classic-bedtime-stories.html

3. The Tactile Books Project: http://www.tactilepicturebooks.org/

4. The very science-y nitty gritty of creating tactile picture books: http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/gadget/newsid=36363.php

5. Research at CU-Boulder: http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2014/06/23/picture-books-visually-impaired-kids-go-3d-thanks-cu-boulder-research-team

 

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