It was created to help blind or partially blind students enjoy the possibility of always remembering their high school friends. Though their 3D printed portraits were created to help a few, it might, in the end, benefit many. Presented at the last Spikes Asia conference, the 3D Printed Yearbook by Korea-based Innocean Worldwide agency and 3D Tek is one of those things that was conceived to bring the benefits of 3D printing to a small group of people and it might soon become something more.
Who wouldn’t rather have the physical representation of their best friends along with their photos? In the future it might become commonplace. For now, it has already fully served its purpose of giving two visually impaired students from the Seoul National School for the Blind the chance to “feel” a lot closer to their high school friends through these physical photos. As shown in this presentation video, it was a very powerful emotional experience for all those involved.
The 3D printed yearbook project culminated in the Touchable Yearbook, which was showcased on graduation day, on the 18th of February, 2014, to over 2.000 students. And the result was highly appreciated. Previous solutions had introduced braille text; however, that had proven to still be inadequate as a way to remember the faces and ultimately who some of those best mates were later on in life, as they grew older.
The 3D printed braille text can still be a perfect addition to the physical portraits. 3D Tek, a specialized prototyping service, provided the technology necessary to make the busts at reduced costs by using sufficiently accurate desktop FFF technology. By meeting the challenges brought by people who suffer from disabilities, whether it be the need for custom prosthetics or hearing aid systems, 3D printing is rapidly proving it can accessibly fill needs that were previously left unattended, often discovering that what starts as a need for a few people can become a comfort for a lot more. Just imagine if you were to replace the word “year”, in “yearbook” with the word “face”.