May 20, 2022

New Tech: “3D-Printed Display Lets Blind People Explore Images by Touch”

From New Scientist:

Blind and partially sighted people often use tactile displays to interact with computers. These raised sets of Braille-like plastic pins work well for reading text and controlling an operating system. But how about for handling visual information such as maps, photos and designs?

A new kind of display called Linespace offers an alternative. Developed at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, it consists of the head from a 3D printer attached to a drafting table of the type used by designers and architects. The print head is attached to arms and motors that allow it to move quickly over the table.


“The objective is to let blind users visualise and make sense of complex spatial data just like sighted people,” says Patrick Baudisch, who leads the HPI team. Linespace will be presented at CHI 2016, a computer-human interaction conference in San Jose, California, in May.

Baudisch estimates that a commercial version of Linespace could cost less than $1000. “We have been debating commercialising it, so it would be good to hear from interested folks,” he says.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Linespace Project Homepage

Demo Video

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.