Toward 3D-Printed movable tactile pictures for children with visual impairments

Jeeeun Kim, Tom Yeh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Many children's books contain movable pictures with elements that can be physically opened, closed, pushed, pulled, spun, flipped, or swung. But these tangible, interactive reading experiences are inaccessible to children with visual impairments. This paper presents a set of 3D- printable models designed as building blocks for creating movable tactile pictures that can be touched, moved, and understood by children with visual impairments. Examples of these models are canvases, connectors, hinges, spinners, sliders, lifts, walls, and cutouts. They can be used to compose movable tactile pictures to convey a range of spatial concepts, such as in/out, up/down, and high/low. The design and development of these models were informed by three formative studies including 1) a survey on popular moving mechanisms in children's books and 3D-printed parts to implement them, 2) two workshops on the process creating movable tactile pictures by hand (e.g., Lego, Play-Doh), and 3) creation of wood-based prototypes and an informal testing on sighted preschoolers. Also, we propose a design language based on XML and CSS for specifying the content and structure of a movable tactile picture. Given a specification, our system can generate a 3D-printable model. We evaluate our approach by 1) transcribing six children's books, and 2) conducting six interviews on domain experts including five teachers for the visually impaired, one blind adult, two publishers at the National Braille Press, a renowned tactile artist, and a librarian.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2015 - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationCrossings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450331456
StatePublished - 18 Apr 2015
Event33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2015 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 18 Apr 201523 Apr 2015

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2015
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2015 ACM.


  • 3D modeling
  • 3D printing
  • Movables
  • Tactile pictures


Dive into the research topics of 'Toward 3D-Printed movable tactile pictures for children with visual impairments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this