TactPost

TactPost is a project made for MakeHarvard Hackathon

Currently only offered as a web interface (Mobile + Siri/google voice support to follow).

The web interface allows anyone who can use a computer to send a greeting card and a picture to someone who is blind/visually impaired.

How we built it

  • Web interface and signup form (HTML/CSS) - Will be hosted on the domain tactpost.com once we're approved.
  • AWS for hosting the website
  • flask to run a local server and receive the data from the website
  • A python program to translate text into arrays of 0's and 1's representing braille
  • A Python program which takes a picture as input, queries Microsoft vision API, and returns a textual description of what's in the image
  • A python script that takes an array of arrays of 0's and 1's (representing braille) and converts it into a 3D braille model.
  • A Makefile that runs a shell script to compose everything together

We used Blender to mock the 3D model and Blender API to generate the 3D file. The file can then be sent to a 3D printer and a double-sided greeting card will be printed:

  • One side of the card is the description of the picture in braille
  • The other side is the actual greeting in braille

Challenges we ran into

As software engineers, the most difficult part for us was to leave the frame of our computer screen and delve deep into the physical world. We had to transform our software output into a real physical object using 3D printers. This was our first time experiencing this technology and it was a blast!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

In less than 24 hours, we were able to create everything from front-end to web-end to physical printing

What we learned

First, we learned how to read and write braille! We learned so many technologies. We used AWS for the first time, we learned how to CAD, how to use Blender, and 3D printers for the first time.

Why?

Having 2 out of our 3 teammates as veterans, we, unfortunately, know people who injured their eyes during their military service. Some of whom even lost their sight. We wanted to help our fellow veterans and bring a product that is so popular and make it also approachable for people with disabilities so they could enjoy it too.

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