• Technology, Arts and Culture

e-Nable: Transforming digital images into 3D printed tactile images for Visual Impaired children’

e-Nable Greece wins the Innovation Awards 2023 for a practice that transforms digital images into tactile 3D printed images.

Name of practice: Transforming digital images into 3D printed tactile images for Visual Impaired children

Organisation: e-Nable

Country: Athens, Greece

Funding: e-Nable Greece got three different funds so far: 1) from the charity organization John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, 2) from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and 3) from the Erasmus+ project.

Description of the organisation: The mission of e-Nable Greece is to use new technologies such as 3D printing and mechatronics to design, produce, and develop assistive devices or educational aids (accessories, assistive prostheses, educational kits) for all needs and all people with upper limb disabilities, visual impairments or mild autism. In addition, e-Nable trains people associated with persons with disabilities (their teachers, families, friends) and anyone else interested in using 3D printing to help reduce the social exclusion of vulnerable groups. e-Nable Greece involves people to take part in their actions as volunteers so as to turn people into active citizens.

Description of practice: The practice consists of transforming digital images into tactile 3D printed images. The objectives behind the development of this practice were: 1. To design and create accessible open-source tactile images for people with a visual impairment; 2. To train the teachers or families of people with visual impairments about the methodology e-Nable use for transforming digital images into tactile 3D printed images; 3. To develop further the use of technology for inclusive education.

Impact generated by the practice: The target groups are visually impaired people, i.e., people with poor or no eyesight, as well as trainers/teachers and families of visually impaired people. Regarding the direct beneficiaries of this practice, e-Nable Greece reached out to approximately 50 visually impaired students and 40 teachers and parents of visually impaired students. The impact on this type of beneficiaries is significant as they can 'read' images from fairy tales, books or other media. The impact is further increased by the training provided to teachers and families on how to apply this practice/method by themselves. E-Nable online e-platform is available to anyone in Europe who wishes to take online courses on how to use this practice. E-Nable also provides all the models as open-source files that anyone with a 3D printer can download and print. Additionally, indirect beneficiaries should also be considered when assessing the impact. This group consists of all the people who can download the files from the e-Nable Greece website.

Scalability & transferability: In terms of the project's sustainability, e-Nable has managed to train around 50 people, including teachers and family members of students with visual impairments. Most of them have a satisfactory level of practical knowledge to act as multipliers for their colleagues and communities. In addition, e-Nable is constantly promoting this practice in all training courses for people working with visual impairments, as well as for inclusive education trainers/teachers in general.

Contact Information: Thanos Mitzifiris