The Tactile Universe
The Tactile Universe is a new project at the ICG to engage the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community with our astrophysics research. We are creating 3D printed tactile images of galaxies which can be used in schools and at public events.
We are in the process of improving our online presence and should have a proper website soon. In the meantime, if you want to keep updated on what’s happening, you can sign up for our mailing list here, or follow us on twitter and facebook.
Following a successful pilot event, we are now working on Phase 2 of the project where we are focusing on engagement with young people through schools workshops and events. We intend to create a set of versatile resources that can be used in a variety of situations, such as formal school lessons and community family events. These will be made available to the wider astronomy outreach and BVI communities free of charge. If you would like to get involved with the project, whether by participating in a future event, through financial support for the project, or anything else, please do get in touch with the team (details below).
An initial six month pilot project was funded by the South East Physics Network until January 2017. For this pilot, we developed 3D printed tactile images of galaxies (example shown below), which were used in a public event for the BVI community in Portsmouth on the 14th January 2017. At this event, attendees were able to explore the different shapes of galaxies using a set of the 3D printed galaxies. You can find out more about the pilot by clicking here for our news item about the event.
The Tactile Universe team is Dr Nicolas Bonne (PI), Dr Jen Gupta, Dr Coleman Krawczyk and Dr Karen Masters. Additional support has been provided by Suki Yau in summer 2016 and Andy Cook in summer 2017.
We are still in the early stages of the project but for more information please contact the team (click on individual names in the previous paragraph to go to their profile on the ICG website), sign up for our mailing list, or follow the project on twitter and facebook.