3D printing works of art for blind people to enjoy

5 Nov 2015

There’s a wonderful Kickstarter campaign running at the moment that aims to 3D print a suite of famous paintings so that blind people can access their tactile imagery.

3D printing really does throw up a series of well-intentioned projects. There’s the whole industry dedicated to creating prosthetics for kids with limb issues, there are even 3D-printing pens to help heal damaged knees.

There are turtles with damaged shells, or toucans with mutilated beaks, all saved by clever new ways of making casts and the likes.

But now there’s even a project to help blind and visually-impaired people enjoy art, giving them a tactile replica to help feel the creation.

3D Photoworks’ Kickstarter campaign is only a few days old at the moment and is looking to raise a substantial $500,000 to fund a range of ‘paintings’ to distribute to museums around the world.

3D Art

$500,000 is quite the target but, I guess, art isn’t cheap. Well, replicating works of art, so that they can be 3D printed, isn’t cheap.

Some of the pledges (which start at $5) include things like $2,000 for your very own 24in Mona Lisa, $3,000 for your own photo to be 3D printed or even $10,000 so you can choose a painting to be delivered to a museum of your choice.

This Kickstarter is basically, from the looks of it, seeking people who want to become art patrons. Not something you come across every day.

“Our goal is to make the world’s greatest art and greatest photography available to blind people at every museum, every science centre and every cultural institution, first in [the US] and then beyond,” said John Olson, co-founder of 3DPhotoWorks.

Van Gogh image via Martien van Gaalen/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic