Great workshop on 3D printing at Experience the World of the Blind!

On 13 November 2021 – International Day of the Blind – the Technical Museum in Brno prepared an event for the general public called Experience the World of the Blind! Among many excellent exhibitors, we allowed ourselves to shine at least a little with a workshop on 3D printing, respectively on its use in teaching and education (formal and informal) of the visually impaired.

The Covid wave predicted us a workshop attendance of around two people – yes, two! Still, we were prepared for a planned turnout of 24 participants. However, despite all these expectations, about 70 people (number estimated from photos and 3D prints handed out) ended up exploring about the possibilities of 3D printing for the visually impaired – from children to seniors, teachers, students, parents with children, single people, those familiar and not familiar with 3D printing… and many other more or less amazing curious people.

Among the buzzing of 3D printing machines, there was talk not only about 3D printing and its use for the creation of various not only tactile aids, but also about Nesmir – the Expert Group for Barrier-Free Astronomy and Cosmonautics of of the Czech Astronomical Society, Svetluska (Firefly), and the ideas of the IEDA project (Inclusive education: ensuring participation of persons with disabilities in non-formal adult education), in which the Teiresias Centre of Masaryk University participates.

If we were just showing various interesting 3D prints and 3D printer robots, it would just be an exhibition. Especially the children, but also many playful adults, turned on the 3D printer; and if they were at least a little bit skilled and patient, they could peel off a 40 x 40 x 5 mm miniature of the Moon’s Linné crater from the printing pad – but they had to wait about half an hour to create it. Not everyone tried 3D printing – they simply observed, touched, discussed, listened, … Even they could take away a small output of the 3D printing miracle, albeit pre-made, as a souvenir.

Today, I regret a little that I consider a little card with name, address, phone number, e-mail and similar information to be a relic – I think a business card or calling card was called that back then. And so interested people had to click our contacts into their mobile phones. We connected with a few blind people and a few schools – they expressed interest in renting (supervised) a 3D printer or hosting a special 3D printing workshop. To get a more thorough and intimate introduction to 3D printing before investing significant sums in purchasing a workshop to create tactile aids. And actually not only in a 3D printer, but also in a vacuform, a laser engraver and everything related to these modern gadgets.

It seems that in the future we will be able to be more in touch with the Technical Museum in Brno – several great ideas have been born, the content of which I will not reveal now. However, I can certainly mention that they come from the mind of Tomas Pribyl – curator of aviation and cosmonautics, popularizer of cosmonautics, author of many books and articles… I think many of you have already met his fascinating work.

For the splendid ride through the world of the blind, the creation of tactile aids not only for the field of teaching and education, I have to thank all the participants – the inquisitive visitors, the very helpful and imaginative Tomas Pribyl, all the organizers from the Technical Museum in Brno (Barbora Kopecka and many others whose names I no longer remember), but also Svetluska (Firefly) and the IEDA project (Inclusive education: ensuring participation of persons with disabilities in non-formal adult education), in which the Teiresias Centre of Masaryk University participates. Nesmir – Expert Group for Barrier-Free Astronomy and Cosmonautics CAS also touched on bright tomorrows with this event.



3D tiskAgoraIEDANadační fond Českého rozhlasu SvětluškaNesmír


Petr Dušek
Petr Dušek
Petr několik let pracoval na úchvatné pozici pozorovatele meteorů v Oddělení meziplanetární hmoty Astronomického ústavu Akademie věd ČR. V současnosti se úspěšně zabývá SW vývojařinou, zejména na úrovni zajištění kvality, testování, bezpečnosti a to primárně v oblasti komerčního sektoru.