Tactile Map: 3D printing for Visual Impaired


On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, the Museum of Electrical Technology (MTE) of Pavia, in collaboration with Regione Lombardia and University of Pavia, has decided to create a tactile map to increase the usability of the Museum for children and people with sensory disabilities.


The map is of size 60×60 cm and represents the building in 1:200 scale. On this tactile map the Museum tour and the most significant cultural elements are indicated. It was made through FDM 3D printing technology to keep costs down, but above all to be able to make any future changes.

The map design was performed by Prof. A. Greco and Eng. V. Giacometti and realized by the Protolab of the Department of Engineering and Architecture, directed by Prof. Auricchio. Crucial was the contribution of Prof. N. Stilla, Regional President of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired.


The chosen 3D printing technology was FDM – Fused Deposition Modeling – durable, resistant and which was found to be the best choice from the tactile perspective point of view. The map is divided into several parts, which were then assembled. Through the collaboration with Prof. Stilla, Ing. Giacometti and Prof. Greco most appropriate colors, Braille writings and best representation thicknesses were established in order to obtain the required qualifications.

The inauguration of the tactile map, at the entrance of the Museum, took place on 8 March 2017, at the presence of the Museum Director, Prof. M. Magliacani, and the authorities.


A crowdfunding campaign entitled “La Scienza a portata di mano” has been activated to support this activity. Visit the following web page for donations: https://universitiamo.eu/campaigns/scienza-portata-mano