3D Printing for Posterity: TechMind Creates Yearbooks & Technology Project for Blind Guadalajara Students

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Logo-SuperiorMany of us remember the excitement of the day that yearbooks arrive. It signals the very end of the school year and the long days of summer approaching, with everyone looking forward to writing long messages, signing with flourishes, and then flipping through the crisp pages to see what their friends looked like on picture day.

Even in a world that has become so paperless, this is one hard copy no one wants to miss out on–and it’s one you may look at intermittently, awash in memories, for the rest of your life. Obviously, for visually impaired students, the traditional yearbook isn’t an option for ‘seeing’ classmates.

8wxuX4gIMZRv8z15sBZh_WGQ5sf7i5yzvPMoDIN0pIkWith the thought in mind that everyone should be able to have an inspiring yearbook experience, sharing with classmates, and remembering their faces over the summer and into posterity, TechMind, a Mexican startup dedicated to technological innovation, decided to use 3D printing to make a difference toward the end of the school year for all five students (and one teacher) at Blind Children’s School of Guadalajara, in a similar vein to the efforts of a South Korean school we saw back in December.

The TechMind team wanted the kids to have more than just an abstract idea and memory of their classmates and set out on a mission to make yearbooks of a different kind for preserving childhood memories.

They also had another agenda though–to take the students on an amazing technological journey they would never forget–along with their classmate’s faces.yearbook

“A picture allows us to remember our past, our friendships, our loved ones, or an unforgettable moment,” states the TechMind team in their video. “But how do you retain those images in your mind when you can’t see them–when your hands and what you feel with them act as your eyes? Thanks to the process of photographic scanning, today those objects can become a reality.”

As the project began to grow from a simple yearbook idea, the team got all the students involved in the process as it was happening.

The team was able to scan each of the children’s faces as well as their teacher’s, so that they would remain on into posterity, preserved in 3D print. Each yearbook consists of the five students’ and one teacher’s 3D printed figurines, sized at 10 x 10 x 15 cm. Each figurine is also mounted–with names written in Braille–on a wooden base that the team laser cut for a polished look. Seven sets were made, to include one for the teacher and one for the principal as well.

“The result and responses were amazing,” reported Carlos Torreblanca, co-founder of TechMind, in a recent blog. “They believed what they were touching. It became a moment for both students and parents that was frozen in time. In the future, they will be able to go back to it and remember how they used to look when they were young.”

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3D printed yearbook. Photograph: Carlos Torreblanca ©

The students were fascinated with the process of 3D printing, as were the parents–and everyone had an enormous learning experience. As the sole distributor for Tinkerine 3D printers in the region, TechMind of course used the Ditto Pro for the 3D printed figurines.

“The project became bigger than just making a publicity stunt for our company,” said Torreblanca. “We truly got involved in it and, for a brief moment in time, we were part of the students’ world.”

facesTorreblanca commented that the project was such an overwhelming success that they will now be making the 3D printed yearbooks an annual tradition for the Blind Children’s School of Guadalajara, serving as a great way for the students to have the memories and fun of a yearbook–especially such an incredibly unique 3D printing one–as well as TechMind’s way of offering support and a donation to the school.

Most everyone is aware of the stunning innovations and impacts 3D printing is having on the world. From transforming industries such as medical, automotive, aerospace, and more, this technology is making incredibly positive changes, layer after layer, in many different industries. The most inspiring effects though are definitely seen in stories such as this, where children’s lives are impacted–and they have a chance to see what new technology can do, as well as how it is working for them.  Discuss this story in the TechMind forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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