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Blind people are ‘seeing’ photographs thanks to this 3D printer

People who've lost their eyesight are learning to 'see' thanks to this project. 


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Posted on Oct 23, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 8:43 am CDT


Pirate 3D is a creative agency from Spain that recently started a project called “Touchable Memories” — building a 3D printer that recreates old photos for people with blindness. They debuted the 3-D printer in a short film posted on YouTube featuring several individuals who have lost their eyesight.

These individuals reminisce about their past memories and touch old photos that depict a time when they were still able to see. At the end of the video, the same photos are brought to life by the Pirate 3-D printer, giving them the ability to feel and ’see’ their memories as if they never lost their eyesight at all.

Project leader, Fred Bosch, told Fast Company:

“There were very long silences while we saw emotions wash over their faces as if they were being transported in time, but Daniela was perhaps who stands out the most,” says Bosch. “She chose a memory that not only brought her back to her childhood and the ski holiday she spent with her family, but also reminded her of intimate details that she had forgotten, like the wool cap she was wearing at the time and the crunch of the snow beneath her boots.”

Though there are many bleak arguments concerning how electronic devices make us more passive individuals, we can’t neglect the power and promise that certain technological advancements have in our world, especially 3D printing.

Photo via Pirate3D

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*First Published: Oct 23, 2014, 11:00 am CDT