3-D Printing Is Now Helping Blind People 'See'

Tangibly beautiful.

Whether the pictures are taken by your grandfather's vintage point-and-shoot or your little sister's high-tech DSLR, photography has the power to capture memories as we make them and and keep them close to heart. But that power isn't as accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.

"Memories for me as a blind person are almost like dreams," Daniela, an accessibility consultant from New York, explains in a video from 3D printing company Pirate 3D. "[They're] like a gust of wind. It's there and it's gone."

But, as evidenced by the video, there's a tactile alternative on the horizon.


Using Buccaneer, their 3D printer, Pirate 3D created three-dimensional, physical versions of pictures collected from Daniela and four other participants with visual impairment, giving them memories they could touch.

Their reactions were tellingly almost as beautiful as their newly tangible photographs.

"There were very long silences while we saw emotions wash over their faces as if they were being transported in time," project lead Fred Bosch told Fast Company.