Additive technologies for teaching learning process

Project information

  • Publication: Creating atom representations using open-source, stackable 3d printed interlocking pieces with tactile features to support chemical equation writing for sighted and visually impaired students, Ishu Singhal and B. S. Balaji, J. Chem. Educ. 2020, 97, 118−124.
  • Design Registration: (registered with Indian patent office)
    1. B. S. Balaji, Ishu Singhal, Teaching aid set, design number, 323771-001, class 19-07, 2019.
    2. B. S. Balaji, Ishu Singhal, Teaching game set, design number, 323772-001, class 21-01, 2019.
  • Copyright Registration: (registered with Indian patent office)
    B. S. Balaji, Ishu Singhal, Learning puzzles for learning language of science, Language of work – English, French, Russian and Italian, Registration number. L-92617/2020, 2020.

Teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects to blind and low vision (BLV) students is a major challenge. Emerging technologies like three-dimensional (3D) printing enable us to provide tools and techniques which can help us create working modular molecular and chemical models for tactile perception. In this self-initiative project, we have designed and developed 3D printed scalable Braille models. The model contains Braille labels along with alphanumerical impressions to be used readily by both the BLV students as well as their teachers. We are also freely sharing the open-source repository of basic building block models design files for writing chemical formulas, equations, and ionic states.

Project information

  • Publication: Open-Source, Tactile 3D Printed Interlockable Tiles Incorporating Valency, Bonding, and Hybridization for Molecular Representation for Sighted and Visually Impaired Students Ishu Singhal and B. S. Balaji , Journal of Chemical Education, 2022, 99 (4) 1708-1714

Learning to write chemical formulas of compounds is a basic and indispensable part of understanding and studying chemistry. However, it is hard for students with visual impairment to assess and learn molecular arrangements and formulas. For the convenience of such students with special needs, it is necessary to come up with easy, comprehensive, and efficient solutions to make them independent, self-reliant, and be able to control their progress at their own pace. This can be achieved with the aid of emerging new technologies such as 3D printing. In the current research work, a 3D printed model was designed and developed. The open-source repository of 3D printable model design files for the basic building blocks to represent chemical formulas of different elements such as carbon, hydrogen, other elements, and related organic as well as inorganic compounds are being shared freely. These models feature a lock and key design, like jigsaw puzzle pieces, along with Braille and print notation that allow learning to be more interactive, engaging, productive, and effective as the sense of touch (tactile) is one of the primary ways through which visually impaired people perceive physical entities. Each elemental piece in the model is designed specifically as per its available bonding electrons, i.e., valency, allowed only to connect with another complementary element in a unique configuration to ensure their correct arrangement and representation using the lock-and-key feature. The concept of hybridization is also included for enhanced learning.