Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Tactile Picture Books Project

Touching a 3-D representation in a book

Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder are researching and producing 3-D children's books for those who are blind or visually impaired.  The Tactile Picture Books Project uses 3-D printing to revolutionize the production of tactile graphics and images in children's books.  The availability of tactile books is a crucial way to promote early literacy in children with visual impairments.  The rise in popularity and affordability of 3-D printers in the past few years has prompted scientists and others to experiment to see how the tool can be used to create all sorts of things, including tactile books.  

3-D model of a gorillaAt a recent summer camp through their Science Discovery program, the researchers introduced high school students to the concept of 3-D printing and computer science — without computers.  They had the students use Legos and other tools to turn a 2-D image into a 3-D object to show them that the field of computer science isn't just writing code.
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