May 3, 2017 | By Tess

A group of innovative young people from Argentina have designed and 3D printed a chess board that is catered to people with visual impairments. The tactile 3D printed chess set, which has braille embedded on its board, has been given to the Elizalde Institute for the blind in Argentina.

The group behind the 3D printed chess set are from the “Tecnoteca” cultural and educational center in Villa María, a town in Argentina’s province of Córdoba. The initiative to design a braille chess set started after the Tecnoteca center was asked by the town to create a series of braille posters to put in bathrooms.

According to Tecnoteca’s director Ariel Vottero, it was during that project that they realized the potentials of using 3D printing to make aids for the visually impaired. “At that meeting we realized that we could print 3D posters using the Tinkercad design program at a ten times lower cost,” he said.

When asked if it could dedicate a workshop towards helping a group of blind children who wanted to participate in the Municipal Chess Club, the Technoteca center was up to the challenge and knew 3D printing would play an important role.

To make the 3D printed chess board, the group used open-source software and 3D models which they were able to adapt for a visually impaired player. The team included Emmanuel Allasia, who was in charge of the design, Marcelo Ghezzi, who was leading the assembly, and two sixth grade students from a local school.

The 3D printed chess set, which took about a month to complete, integrates a tactile board with the dark tiles raised slightly higher than the white tiles; pieces with pegs on their bottom that fit into holes in the tiles; and edges around the board that are marked with braille to indicate the columns and rows.

Even the pieces are differentiated, as the Tecnoteca team used a slightly sharper design for the set of dark pieces, while the white team pieces are what is described as a “roma” style. Still, both sets of pieces bear the unmistakable medieval shapes of a classic chess board.

As mentioned, the chess board has already been given to the Elizalde Institute where it will be used to help teach blind children the great game of chess. The team behind the 3D printed set are now working on a newer version of the design that integrates an audio module and talking board which will help visually impaired children simultaneously learn about computer sciences and robotics.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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