This is another area where 3D printing can revolutionize people’s lives. Making 3D prints from photographs enables physical representation of imagery. The Singapore based company that is doing this social experiment is called called Pirate3D with easy to use 3D printers. The director of this film short, Marco Aslan tells a story of five people, Gabor, Mario, Meritxell, Yassine and Daniela who have lost their eyesight, yet each has a vivid memory captured in time on a photograph. These photographs were then modeled and printed in 3D allowing each person to re-experience that photograph through touch.
This is important for scientists and non-scientists alike. You might be surprised at how many people do not know someone who is blind or has gone through a blinding disease. You might be further surprised at how many scientists that are engaged in vision research do not really know what its like to have gone through vision loss or have similarly interacted with someone who is going blind. As I’ve said before in The Judgment Of Solomon post, “Every scientist studying vision and diseases affecting vision should have the opportunity to spend time with those who have lost sight. It is important for people in the sciences to sit down and talk with those affected by the disease they study.”
The subject of this short, Mark has a cone/rod dystrophy due to a defect in the ABCA4 gene, which codes for an ATP-binding cassette transporter family. Kris Palczewski’s group has shown that these defects ultimately cause a buildup of all trans retinal in the outer segments of the photoreceptors and leads to likely oxidative damage, cell stress and photoreceptor toxicity. This photoreceptor toxicity then ultimately results in photoreceptor cell death and blindness.
Tommy Edison, The Blind Film Critic has been blind since birth. In this sort video from his Youtube Film Channel, he discusses the concept of color to a person who has never before seen. Tommy also has lots of additional videos that give some insight into how the blind navigate through life. For those of us who study vision or are interested in vision, Tommy’s channel is well worth dropping by.
This project called “Bianco, a multimedia project on visual deficiencies” by an amazing photographer/photojournalist Stefano da Luigi was sent by photojournalist extraordinaire and friend of Webvision, Trent Nelson. Stefano da Luigi’s work in this photoessay, a winner of the Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan 2011 Multimedia Award is a stunningly intimate series of images of people experiencing aspects of blindness or the clinical treatment of low vision. Images like these are tacit reminders of why those of us do the research we do… They are why we engage in long days and longer nights of work… They are why we fight long odds of funding and strive to change the world for people that suffer from visual deficits and blindness.
Webvision hopes that its readers will take the time to click through to these images and use them as touchstones to guide your work.
This paper is the result of a collaborative effort between Bryan William Jones, Mineo Kondo and Hiroko Terasaki, Carl Watt, Kevin Rapp, James Anderson, Yanhua Lin, Maggie Shaw, Jia-Hui Yang and Robert Marc.