When it comes to 3D pens many people have found myriad uses in arts and crafts. However, Nick Leon looked at a 3D pen and saw an opportunity to create tools that can help people who are blind or visually impaired navigate the world. Nick is an orientation and mobility instructor in the Bosma Enterprises rehabilitation facility. His job is to train people who have lost their vision to learn to navigate safely and effectively. Nick often creates tactile maps for his clients. Tactile maps have raised lines indicating spaces like a building layout or a street layout.
“These maps help a person who is blind or visually impaired visualize a specific area and better understand spatial layout,” Nick said. “They can be useful for memorizing the order of streets in an area like downtown Indianapolis or a complex intersection like a roundabout.”
Creating the tactile maps can be very time consuming, waiting for paint and glue to dry. This would prolong the teaching process and did not allow Nick to be responsive and timely to the needs of his clients. The 3D pen maps can be created nearly instantly and he is able to be much more responsive to the needs of those he serves.
Nick has taken this passion and developed a kit that can help other instructors develop this very important tool. He has developed a user guide with step-by-step instructions as well as templates and other tips and tricks to use a 3D pen to create tactile maps. The kits can be purchased here.
Nick has also developed a Facebook page so rehabilitation professionals can collaborate share their own ideas and tips. Visit the page and find out how others have been using this device.