Does painting have to be a visual medium? A project that makes painted masterpieces a bit more accessible to the blind suggests that the answer is no.
The company 3DPhotoworks is translating painting masterpieces into bas reliefs that allow a blind person to run his or her hands over the print to get an idea of its shape and substance. Additionally, according to the company, “Sensors are embedded throughout the print that when activated by touch, provide custom audio that grows the narrative.”
“Mona Lisa” rendered in 3D by 3DPhotoworks
Although images presented by the company suggest that the 3D-printing process seeks to convey the content of the pieces through the ridges and rises of the print, the company says their proprietary process also allows the conveying of brushstrokes and texture. “3D Tactile Prints have length, width, depth and texture,” they say on their website. “Unlike other processes, when experiencing tactile prints such as Van Gogh’s ‘Dr. Gachet,’ tactile feedback is available down to the brush stroke.”
See a short video about the project here.