Call for ideas: 3D printing astronomy for the visually impaired

The OAD has recently purchased a 3D printer for AstroSense, a project that explores astronomy for the visually impaired

Tactile astronomy

AstroSense is an OAD project led by Dr. Wanda Diaz-Merced, a blind astrophysicist and computer scientist who develops software to analyze astronomical data through sound. Additionally, the OAD supports initiatives in the development of tactile astronomy resources, such as the 3D moon developed by the “Touch of the Universe” OAD-sponsored project.

3D printing

In furthering this cause, we recently acquired a 3D printer and scanner. Our goal is to use the 3D printer and scanner to explore the possibilities in bringing astronomy to the visually impaired. Think 3D prints of astronomical objects, phenomena, instruments; the possibilities are endless! Astronomers from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore have 3D-printed Hubble space telescope images to the visually impaired.

Your challenge

We would like to invite you to join our brainstorm and pitch your tri-dimensional ideas to us: we’re looking for anything that can be used for tactile astronomy: think inspiration, innovation, smart designs or cool activities. How can we use tactility to teach astronomy? Throw your ideas our way; we have the hardware to print them out!

Send us your ideas at


First workshop on Astronomy Beyond the Common Senses for Accessibility and Inclusion

Live Audio stream of Total Solar Eclipse 2017