making an impact
In collaboration with Western Michigan University's Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies, Kevin Abbott, the director of the virtual reality (VR) development studio and Leah Barton, a student and VR lab manager, successfully helped develop 3D-printed maps that can help people with visual impairments navigate campus. These maps were then printed by the Technology Help Desk on 3D printers in the University Computing Center.
The 3D-printed maps were created from the perspective of a user with blindness or low vision through VR application. The plastic models detail only the hallways of the WMU College of Health and Human Services building, that way users can get a clear reading of the map. The models will be kept in the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies so that students can use them for reference and faculty can utilize them as teaching tools.
The virtual reality development studio was created on campus to provide students with the capabilities and tools to explore new ways to problem-solve and think critically about different subjects. The studio offers software for 3D modeling, application development, content creation, roleplaying simulations, and much more. Both the virtual reality development studio and 3D printing are free services for students, faculty, and staff. With VR technology and 3D printing taking off in many industries, many other on-campus departments have grabbed the opportunity to incorporate these experiences into their students' curriculum. For more information visit the virtual development studio and 3D printing web pages.