Graduates of Daegu Kwangmyung School have received a special yearbook for the class of 2021, with the students' faces sculpted in 3D as they are visually impaired.
Seventeen graduates who finished their kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school courses at the specialized school for students with visual impairment, could feel the 3D-printed faces of their friends with the book they received during their graduation ceremony, Tuesday.
Also, the graduates' names are embossed in braille under their faces and short recordings of their graduation speeches can be played when pressing a button.
"A yearbook is a special object for students and holds memories of their school days. I wished my students could also have yearbooks made for them, and thanks to the researchers of Kyungpook National University, the wish came true," Jeong Moon-jun, a teacher at Daegu Kwangmyung School and the head of the yearbook staff, told The Korea Times, Wednesday.
"The students were thrilled to get an image of what their colleagues look like for the first time in their lives and we, the teachers, were happy for them as well. The parents were also very excited, saying their children received an unforgettable present," Jeong said.
It was in 2019 when the school and Creative Factory, the startup incubation center from Kyungpook National University, came together to create a yearbook specially made for visually impaired students.
"The yearbook project aims to remove the bars to new technology," Hwang Ung-bi, a researcher from Creative Factory who previously worked on a similar 3D yearbook for Seoul National School in 2014, told The Korea Times, Wednesday.
"People with visual impairment could easily be marginalized from the development of new technology. We wanted to remove that bar and devised the 3D shape of the book, considering that visually impaired people have exceptional sense at their fingertips to read by touch," Hwang said.
The teachers and a team of 11 researchers worked together for six months to design and produce the yearbook.
"The project succeeded thanks to the teachers' proactive cooperation," Hwang said. "The 3D printing technology requires several stages of shooting and digital transforming, which could be difficult for students with physical disabilities. The teachers' passion and affection for their students were inspiring."
Jeong said, "We are happy to see the positive feedback from students and parents and plan to present an upgraded version of the yearbook for the class of 2022."
source: The Korea Times