Imagine a future where the visually impaired can learn through touch, using objects 3D printed inside their classrooms. MakerBot teamed up with Yahoo! Japan to make that future a reality for visually impaired students in Japan. An Unforgettable Experience for the Visually Impaired The Hands On Search pilot program brought a custom device equipped with a MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printer to a classroom of visually impaired students at the University of Tsukuba. Students used the device’s voice recognition software to search for objects, and the device’s built-in MakerBot Replicator 2 enabled them to print objects right away. Yahoo! Japan curated a special database filled with 3D-printable designs for the students, many of which were sourced from the MakerBot® Thingiverse® 3D Design Community. A Collaborative Platform In order to encourage online collaboration, Yahoo! Japan posted a wish list of items students hadn’t been able to find, including some tough ones like “Thunder” and “Tornado”. 3D modelers were encouraged to contribute their own designs to fulfill students’ requests. MakerBot Across Japan After a successful pilot at the University of Tsukuba, Hands On Search is expanding, with plans to bring devices to seven schools for the visually impaired across Japan. We can only imagine what it’s like for a visually impaired student to touch the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty and get an impression of its shape and appearance for the first time—thanks to 3D printing.