For decades, creating a strategy that includes the blind and sight impaired in the museum experience has been difficult, some say nearly impossible, as no technology existed that satisfactorily simulates vision.
At the heart of the issue is what technology, available or imagined, can satisfactorily provide the blind with equal access and cultural inclusion to art and photography.
Neuroscientist Paul Bach y Rita, in his research into neuroplasticity, tells us that, “The brain is able to use information coming from the skin as if it were coming from the eyes.” And that, “We don’t see with the eyes or hear with the ears, these are just the receptors, seeing and hearing in fact goes on in the brain.”
3DPhotoWorks Tactile Fine Art Prints have been developed to serve the blind, the sight impaired and the sighted, and are based, to a large degree on Dr. Bach y Rita’s research that he conducted within the blind community.
3D Tactile Prints have length, width, depth and texture. Unlike other processes, when experiencing tactile prints such as Van Gogh’s Dr. Gachet, tactile feedback is available “down to the brush stroke”.
And, unlike other processes, 3D Tactile Prints have significant depth and enhanced detail. Up to 1.75 inches of relief depth provides the sense of contour and shape and helps paint a “mental picture” by greatly increasing the feedback to the brain.
To further assist our audience, infrared sensors are embedded at strategic points throughout the tactile art. When touched, they activate “audio theatre” excerpts that are enhanced with audio effects that place the visitor “in” the art and provide information that is specific to the coordinate of the art being experienced.