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Helping Blind Students Learn with 3D Printed Sex-Ed Organs

Picture of Hanna Watkin
by Hanna Watkin
Jan 26, 2017

Visually impaired students may miss out on cringy sex education videos, but 3D printed sex-ed organs can help them learn through touch.

Many blind students attend school with sighted children, so often resources for them are limited. But with a 3D printer, schools are able to provide additional learning tools for visually impaired children. 

One example includes sex-ed classes which are traditionally taught using videos and pictures. To ensure blind children have an equal learning experience to their sighted classmates, tactile models of sex organs are currently in development.

These models can better teach blind children about human anatomy, and make sure they don’t miss out on an important aspect of their education.

Lisa Wadors Verne is a program manager in education research and partnerships at Benetech. This is a nonprofit that focuses on social impact technology. As she explains: 

“Many of the kids who are blind, because much of the information is presented in photographs or videotapes, they miss out on key information that their peers are able to see.”

Benetech is working with Northern Illinois University researchers and San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind. They are already designing and testing a pilot set.

3D Printed Sex-Ed

Making Models for 3D Printed Sex-Ed

Already, researchers are testing the use of the 3D printed body parts and whether they’re useful for sex-ed classes. Verne adds:

“We want to test how much the student learned that maybe they wouldn’t have gotten from just listening to someone talk about this outloud. The other thing we’re going to try to parse out on this too is how valuable is this—how much would a teacher be willing to spend on a model like this.”

The testing began with blind college students trying out the models and giving their feedback. The next stage is for teachers with younger visually impaired students to teach using the models.

One main reason for developing an open-source 3D printed model is that commercial alternatives can cost hundreds of dollars. But with open-source files, the only costs incurred are for materials and printing.

Researchers hope to have feedback by the end of the spring semester. The open-source files will soon be available after this. However, if your school doesn’t have a 3D printer, the team can offer customized, distributed models for a fee.

Source: Fastcoexist

3D Printed Sex-Ed

License: The text of "Helping Blind Students Learn with 3D Printed Sex-Ed Organs" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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