Lumi Industries are the makers of the Lumipocket DLP 3D, a tiny printer packed with features. Today the same company has just released an interesting piece of software which can convert text into Braille which can then be used to build 3D models for the visually impaired. The software came out of a collaboration between Lumi Industries and LibraryLyna, a project aimed at becoming the largest collection of high quality, educational 3D models for the blind and visually impaired.
In case you aren’t familiar with the system built by Louis Braille, it sprung from a system of communication first devised by Captain Charles Barbier. Barbier originally called his system ‘night writing,’ and it was essentially a language of dots and dashes to allow soldiers to communicate silently on the battlefield in the dark. It proved too complex for combat use, but Braille, who had been blinded in an accident during his childhood, took elements of the Barbier system as his foundation and while only fifteen years of age, created a simplified system which reduced the original twelve raised dots to just six. The small ‘cells’ in Braille’s version could be recognized as a letter or punctuation mark with the touch of a fingertip.
Current census data says that some 88% of citizens twenty five years and older in the U.S. hold a high school degree or the equivalent, but only 32.2% of visually impaired people in the same age group have gotten their diploma.
LibraryLyna says they hope to simplify the process of creating educational aids for blind students. The project is due in large part to the experience of Dr. Peichun Yang, the co-founder of LibraryLyna. Yang, a blind engineer and scientist, lost his sight seventeen years ago, so he’s intimately familiar with the various technologies used to aid the visually impaired.
Lumi Industries says that their Lumipocket is the first portable, light-curing, resin-based 3D printer, and the free Braille language converter works like this: start the program, enter your desired text and the input is then converted to Braille to turn a 3D model into a file with a .stl extension. The resultant file is ready to be 3D printed, and it ends up appearing like a tag which is embossed with Braille symbols.
Lumi says that the program will allow users to create what they call “tridimensional pages,” or even an entire book. Their DLP technology ,with it’s ability to create small objects with very fine detail, is the perfect solution to print items with Braille language dots. And perhaps most importantly, the Lumi Industries’ converter doesn’t require curriculum or model developers to learn braille themselves, allowing teachers and tutors to communicate messages to students.
Do you know any educators or students who would benefit from access to the Lumipocket and LibraryLyna braille converter software? Let us know in the Free Braille Converter for 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.