update: activities and tactile model production

In this project our goal is to create and distribute educational kits composed of tactile 3D maps of galaxies accompanied by a manual and multimedia material to educators working with BVI students that want to introduce Astronomy concepts in their classrooms, or to astronomers and/or science outreach coordinators that want to do more inclusive Astronomy considering BVI people in their education and public outreach activities. We also offer training on Astronomy and on working with BVI students during an international online workshop. At the beginning we focused on teachers in South America, but after an important interest received in the social media from Mexico, which translated us their difficulties to get this kind of adapted material, we decided to focus on teachers more generally in Latin America, and not only South America.

The call for AstroBVI teachers was announced simultaneously in Spanish and Portuguese (with an online application form also in both languages). The call for AstroBVI teachers was open during one month, until August 31st, and we received 120 applications. Given this demand and that we are able to produce more kits, we will produce 100 kits instead of 50. 

Tactile models

The project is working with a company using a state-of-the-art laser resin 3D printer to create master tactile maps of the galaxies of the kit in very high resolution (0.02 instead of 0.1 from ordinary PLA 3D) printer. From these masters, they create silicone molds so they can quickly reproduce tactile images in plastic cast using their technology with a high level of resolution (comparable to the PLA 3D printing). These tactile images have the advantage of removing the tactile feeling of the 3D printer, and are made of durable material.


– March 2018: Participation in the Chilean Day of Astronomy with a workshop with children, showing how we are going to bring galaxies to other children with visual impairments. We used some 3D printing prototype tactile maps (funded with external funding) to create molds with Clay (instead of silicone molds) to show the technique we use in the project.

– August 2018: First AstroBVI activity. This activity was planned in the project timeline. Given the budget we couldn’t invite one of the members of the Tactile Universe project, however we did many teleconferences with them to prepare the activity. The multimedia material (galaxy guide and lessons) created for the activity, specially designed to BVI

– August 2018: Participation in the Inspiring Stars exhibition as part of the Astronomy & Inclusion Chilean stand (http://www.astro.udec.cl/black_hole_anillo/outreach.html).

– October 2018: Talk on the AstroBVI project in the second binational conference between the Chilean Astronomical Society (SOCHIAS) and the Argentine Association of Astronomy (AAA)students, will be part of the kit.