3D printing for the blind

Source, April 16, 2013

From the article:

For the visually impaired, the basic problem with art is that they can't see it. But with a project called "Midas Touch" a group of Harvard kids say they have a fix: Use 3D printing to help the blind "see" what they cannot actually see. (...) Basically, what Midas Touch does is take a flat image - say, of "Starry Night" - and use 3D printing to add layers of texture to it, creating an image that's half painting, half relief sculpture. Essentially, Midas Touch takes the visual nature of art and translates it to a physical world that the visually impaired can understand.
We tried a primitive approach and applied png23D to a picture or to a edge detect picture. By playing around with the right filters, one could probably get a picture to STL conversion in one line:
png23d -t x -f surface -o stl -l 25 -d 2 -w 100 relief.png relief.stl
png23d -t x -f surface -o stl -l 25 -d 2 -w 100 relief_edge.png relief_edge.stl