About 300 million people in the world suffer for visual impairments and 40 millions of them are completely blind. However, ta touch represents their perception about the world. Their hands are actually their eyes, but it is incredibly compicated to imagine yourself something what you have never seen.

Anyone can learn Braille and read books, but blind people don’t understand the concept and information description of these books. A human can touch and recognise items of the daily use like: furniture or office equipment. They have also an opportunity to touch domestic animals, but they can’t do it with an elephant, a tower, pyramids, skyscrapers or mountains.

“Global Startup Battle” 2015 winners “Tactile Eyesight” successfully continues its cooperation with SIA Mass Portal of making tactile books. On one side of the tactile book page is text in Braille and on the other side is relief of drawing, what raises awareness of readers and allows them to build imaginations about things described in books.

The whole process of production of these books is complicated and time-consuming, because it is usually performed by hands. It is much easier and doesn’t take so much time, when you use 3D printing technology for it. Moreover you can base on digital mock-ups to tactile books.


An author of the project – Aigars Vilcāns made them accessible for everyone. Because of a low popularity of Latvian literature, the first produced book was “Missing Monkey” from awarded Luīzes Pastores Art detective book series. Mass Portal had a pleasure to host three students from Lativa – beneficents of the program Erasmus+. A co founder of the project “Tactile Eyesight” – Mareks Matisons organised a meeting at at Latvian Society of the Blind, where they introduced students about history of tactile books and Braille, informed them about project process and gave Elīnas Brasliņas illustration sketches which will be used for further work.

The main task of the students was to create an 3D illustration of terrain models on 3D building software SketchUp and print the prototypes – from primitive contours to finely detailed 3D images, which help readers to imagine themselves how the described surrounding looks like. It was the first time when they used SketchUp  and 3D printers but they they did a good work. The 3D illustrations will be further used at Training Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, where children and young people will examine them.


”Books are alive. It is a matter, a symbol of human development and cultural grandeur. Book illustrations are very important for young children. Looking at the pictures child learns new words and concepts. They are aware of the world around them. Same experience for children with visual impairments provides tangible three dimensional images. Its a real pleasure to be part of this process for everyone of us, enabling children and young people to integrate into society by showing them yet unseen and unfamiliar world wonders that we seem to self-evident. Engaging in this project implementation we each took home a small piece of blind peoples world.

Mass Portal marketing manager Inga Žilinska

Although the process is slower than it was originally planned, but with a different scope of expert assistance and Mass Portal support “Tactile Eyesight” team has made great step to success in tactile book making.

The sole distributor of Mass Portal’s devices in Poland is company Spectrum Filaments.

Source: Mass Portal

Paulina Winczewska
German philologist and translator, fanatic of the strangest and the most difficult foreign languages and culinary experiments, who is not afraid of new technologies and gadgets. Enthusiast of swimming.

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