Creating tactile captions in three‐dimensional computer‐aided design and manufacturing

Stewart Dickson (Computer Science and Mathematics Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Publication date: 1 December 2005



This paper aims to present new work on a topic/which has received very little attention.


Rapid prototyping technology is used to provide access to 3D computer graphics and visualization for people with visual disabilities. Software and techniques for composing DotsPlus(tm) Braille text in a three‐dimensional computer‐aided design (CAD) and rapid prototyping system are presented.


Vision‐limited people and people with cognitive or learning disabilities can benefit from casting the results of scientific computing into physical form using rapid prototyping.

Research limitations/implications

Not much is known about the extent of three‐dimensional spatial cognition in people with the kinds of disabilities who might benefit from this work. The argument for this application of rapid prototyping remains to be tested in a laboratory or classroom environment. The manufacturing principles in a limited test scenario are presented here. Work remains to be done to develop software in order to manufacture polygon mesh models from an arbitrary scientific visualization via rapid prototyping with tactile captions applied.

Practical implications

The CAD modeling and rapid prototyping innovations suggested in this paper will create pedagogical models, which are sufficiently robust to withstand the classroom and will lower the cost of producing and distributing these models.


Rapid prototyping has only been used on three documented occasions in the past to create experimental models of scientific information for the blind. There has been no attempt prior to now to integrate captions with these tactile models. These models have not been in general use for education of persons with visual, cognitive or learning disabilities.



Dickson, S. (2005), "Creating tactile captions in three‐dimensional computer‐aided design and manufacturing", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 293-297.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.