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Harvard Students use 3D Printers to Help the Blind ‘See’ Artwork

| 3D Printers | April 18, 2013

Harvard 3D Printed Paintings

The Midas Touch project is a finalist in the Harvard Cultural Entrepreneurship challenge

Four Harvard students have been selected as finalists in Harvard’s┬áCultural Entrepreneurship challenge which helps to explore how business strategies can help sustain and enhance the arts. Their project, Midas Touch uses 3D printing to help blind art lovers experience paintings which they can’t actually see.

The process is quite simple. Take a flat image and use a 3D printer to add layers of texture to it, creating a relief sculture effect which the visually impaired can feel.

“We want to bridge the gap between the visually impaired and the visual world of art,” Constantine Tarabanis, one of the students behind the project.

One area where the team had difficulty is with the representation of color, which they tried to solve with linking different textures with certain colors. But they found that associating textures with colors doesn’t have much significance to the blind.

Relief Sculpture

The Midas Touch team produce 3D printed pictures similar to relief scultures

Finalists in the competition will receive a $5,000 prize, dedicated workspace at the Harvard i-lab to work on developing their projects and expert mentorship. The grand prize winner will be chosen from the 10 finalists in May and will take home a share of the $75,000 prize pot.

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