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Blind students in Harford County getting hands on experience with 3D printers

3D Printing for Blind
Posted at 5:46 PM, Jun 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-29 19:28:06-04

HARFORD COUNTY, Md. — A camp in Harford County is giving students the opportunity to do things they've been told they can't do. Students from the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland got hands on experience with enhanced technology in 3D printing.

It's the first time an event like this has happened at Harford Community College.

"Challenges that blind students face really come down to accessibility, confidence and exposure. So the mission of this camp that we're having is to provide opportunities for students to get a chance to try different things and understand what engineering is all about,” said Anica Zlotescu, BISM Manager of Training and Accessibility.

Coordinator of Engineering Technology at Harford Community College, David Antol, developed a 3D Printing Academy for students at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland. Teaching them to create projects of their own while giving some of the college students a chance to learn something new.

"It's a learning experience for everybody because the blind students are learning 3D printing and interfacing with CAD but the college students are learning the importance of being able to verbalize what's happening,” said Antol.

The blind students figure out their own way to navigate the machines.

One student said, "For me, I have for your phone a different application called Voiceover and my voice over speed is like 95.”

And when that doesn't work, the college students step in to help based on what each individual student's needs.

Today's mission was creating a luggage identifier as the students are flying to Houston for a convention this weekend.

"I made a heart and I made a tag with Hello Kitty on it because I love Hello Kitty," said Alanis Martineze, student of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland.

The individual design is what will help them find their luggage by using their sense of touch.

Breaking the barriers of limitations that the blind face on a daily basis while showing that anyone can be successful in the field of engineering.

"I’m just like very happy that we got to do what we're doing now and I want to look forward in the future where more students are getting these opportunities not just us in Maryland but nation wide because this is our future as well,” said Oscar Mejia, a student of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland.