Portsmouth astronomy project for visually impaired children

April 29, 2024 | by magnews24.com

A project making astronomy more accessible to visually impaired children could win an award.

The Tactile Universe team at the University of Portsmouth has been shortlisted for a Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) See Differently Award.

It comes after blind astronomer, Dr Nicolas Bonne, led the team to use 3D printers to make models of galaxies.

He said the models allow students to feel how galaxies develop.

It’s a method Dr Bonne has previously shown the BBC, as he uses 3D models in his own work.

The 41-year-old, originally from Australia, was born with a visual impairment because of retinopathy of prematurity.

Talking about the Tactile Universe project, he said: “We want to inspire young people; to let them know that if science is something they want to do, they should feel confident enough to go for it.”

The project has previously featured on the BBC’s Sky at Night programme and the models and accompanying resources are taken into schools to run workshops for visually impaired students and their sighted classmates.

The team’s work has now been shortlisted in the ‘Design for Everyone’ category, which recognises those committed to understanding the everyday challenges faced by blind and partially sighted people.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Tuesday 21 May.

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