Guide4Blind is a trendsetting project used by Kreis Soest and Wirtschaft & Marketing Soest GmbH to develop new tourism experiences for the visually impaired and blind. Behind the scenes, it is 3D printing technology that plays a big part in the success of this project.
Guide4Blind aims to guide blind people through the inner city of Soest through guided routes, while at the same time providing them with very realistic impressions of noteworthy buildings along the way. A navigation app provides a quick solution for route guidance purposes.
The city's main buildings will also become "visible" to the blind through scaled bronze models, which are located right beside the respective landmarks. The visually impaired can touch and feel the bronze models to obtain a detailed impression of the shapes and surfaces of the buildings.
"When we received the inquiry about creating plastic models for three important Soest landmarks, which would subsequently be cast in bronze, our aim was to create models that are as precise and true-to-detail as possible - hence this project was tailor-made for the precision printers at our service centre," says Rudolf Franz, COO of voxeljet technology.
Once the data for the buildings was available, the voxeljet 3D printers started the fully-automated assembly of the buildings using the layer building method. The process gradually yielded the Osthofentor, the Wiesenkirche and the Patroklidom.
Speciatity foundry Strassacker, which created the high quality casts of the bronze models, was very impressed with the models' quality and depth of detail. The three bronze models have now arrived at their destination and form a part of the tourism experience in Soest's downtown area for the blind and visually impaired. Braille tablets that provide a brief explanation about the building are placed beside the bronze models.
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