While 3D printing is making monumental impacts in very serious sectors like manufacturing, medicine, and space, my favorite headlines to write are for these types of stories, where people’s lives are being made easier, and allowing them to do things many of us take for granted. 3D printing has allowed some very interesting innovations for the visually impaired and we’ve reported on a number of creative ideas and projects which offer better ways to help the blind understand science and other disciplines, navigate and map, and enjoy more that life has to offer which might not otherwise have been ‘seen’ – like typed messages, for instance.
Many of us spend our day on complete smartphone overload, with a flurry of emails and text messages to be read or sent at any moment. Could you imagine not having the option to do that? What about the idea of taking your eyes off the phone and learning to read typed text in Braille instead, or helping someone who is blind to have the convenience of better communication?
With the advent of a French company, YooCan3D, the visually impaired can use a streamlined 3D printing tool to make sure they don’t miss out on anything. While you may not need Braille, the creators of YooCan3D encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone to further enlighten themselves and give it a try just to ‘see’ and feel what the visually impaired do.
Braille, commonly used by 40 million people all over the world, is obviously the most widely known tool used to help those who are visually impaired. While folks seem to have been getting along well with the traditional system, 3D printing has come to rescue to accentuate and enhance this with a new online software called YooCan3D.
Developed by Activsoft, YooCan3D will translate normal typed messages into Braille. The team was inspired on several levels involving personal history and a passionate interest in technology and innovation, as well as founder Franck Ferrandon’s reading of Makers, by Chris Anderson, which focuses on the industrial revolution currently in progress due to the innovations of modern entrepreneurs offering open source design and making leaps and bounds with 3D printing.
YooCan3D converts Braille into an .stl file for for printing of 4mm thickness, which is a solution in development for the visually impaired to offer them what is always the maximum goal: further independence for all the daily — as well as special — functions they need to attend such as menus, instructions, and directional advice. At Activsoft, they want everyone to get excited about their software, as anyone can use it, and they don’t need to know Braille or have an extensive background in 3D printing.
At YooCan3D, they focus on helping those with special needs, whether requiring Braille or not. They do seem to be all about bringing 3D printing and Braille together, however, with services offering customizable signage in Braille, 3D printed, as well as logos and prototypes.
Are you familiar with anyone who is visually impaired and has been positively impacted with a 3D printed device of any sort? Tell us about it, as well as your thoughts on the overall impact 3D printing can have for helping those with special needs in the YooCan3D forum over at 3DPB.com.