PEOPLE with sight loss can now ‘see’ their drawings, thanks to a new 3D printing pen.
Daniel Cowen, president of the 3Doodler company that produces the pens, said: “We got so many requests from people with sight loss and teachers of blind students, we started calling up organisations to explore how we could make our 3D pen work better for them.”
The feedback they received led to specific changes to the pens – such as lower heat and tactile buttons – to make them easier and safer to use.
And now the 3Doodler Start has been given the thumbs up from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which awards its ‘RNIB Approved’ quality assurance mark to products it identifies as “easy-to-use” for those who are blind or partially sighted.
One of the participants from the study, Margaret Wilson-Hinds, said: “I’ve always felt that if I could see I would enjoy painting but I haven’t had the opportunity. 3Doodler is a totally different thing altogether and I really enjoyed using it.”
Maths teacher, Julia Weston, from a specialist school for blind and partially sighted children in Birmingham, said: “It’s the best thing since sliced bread. 3Doodler’s pens are not only a really nice art tool but an important teaching aid that we can pick up and use on the spot, without any pre-planning.
“It is making subjects and topics far more accessible, especially in maths where shape and space can be particularly difficult to grasp for blind and partially sighted students.
“It helps me to establish their level of understanding so we can fill in the gaps and ensure they can use tactile diagrams instantly and effectively.”
Max Bogue, CEO and co-creator of 3Doodler, said: “We envision a world where every person, from children to grandparents, regardless of ability, can use a 3Doodler 3D pen to unlock their creativity and bring their ideas to life.”
3Doodler’s 3D printing pens are already used by more than 3,000 teachers in classrooms across the globe and by artists, creators and hobbyists from young to old. They are sold in more than 60 countries at UK retailers including Amazon, Maplin and Currys.