Add Tactile Picture Books to the list of cool things 3-D printers can do. We’ve all experienced picture books with textured patches for itty bitty kiddie hands to graze over while they glance at the pictures and listen to the story. But not everyone has been able to have the same experiences. Until now, visually impaired children were left out of the picture part of picture books.
Thanks to the emerging technology of 3-D printing, classic storybooks like Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Goodnight Moon have become more accessible. The 2-D pictures in those storybooks have been run through a 3-D printer, resulting in the sculpted scenes pictured above.
Now that the 3-D printed images sit alongside the braille words, visually impaired readers can engage in picture book reading in a whole new way. The future of this technology hopes to put the power in the hands of the parent who would be able to snap a photo of a 2-D page, send it to a printer, and produce their own Tactile Picture Book for their own kids.