There are 22 million visually impaired people in India. Because of the high cost of education for them, a great number end up unemployed and living in poverty. Many of them never learn to read.
Serviceplan Health & Life agency in Germany has partnered with the LV Prasad Eye Institute in India and Ravensburger (the world’s leading company for puzzles and educational games) to create Fittle – the world’s first 3D printed Braille puzzles. The puzzles help visually impaired people to associate objects with the spelling of words.
Most importantly, Fittle models can be downloaded from the Fittle website and 3D-printed at almost zero cost (US50c). This means that learning Braille becomes more accessible than ever, and new puzzles and replacement pieces can be produced easily and cheaply. The Fittle Project is raising funds to provide 3D printers to communities in developing countries that couldn’t afford expensive learning devices in the past. It aims to distribute Fittle puzzles for free across the LVPEI network of over 190 local eye care centers across India, reaching 2.5 million patients.
The Fittle film will be shown in movie theatres in India, managed by the Prasads group, as a public service message to increase awareness of the educational aspect of the 3D Braille Puzzles, and an explanation of how to download the template for printing the puzzles.
Dr Beula Christy, head of the Institute for Vision Rehabilitation, L V Prasad Eye Institute, commented, “Fittle opens a new avenue for children with visual impairment to explore the world around them to its closest possible reality. Besides being a motivator to learn Braille, this amusing recreational toy influences overall development through a constructive playtime.
“The learning opportunities of Fittle are huge, beginning with fine motor activity to enhanced higher level cognitive functioning such as attention, focusing, problem solving, object permanence, concept learning and much more.”
Each object-shaped puzzle is divided into parts equal to the number of letters, which when combined form the word and object. A line at the bottom of the puzzle combined with different shaped connectors, enable visually impaired children to find the right combination and understand how to spell simple words such as Fish in Braille, while at the same time getting a sense of the shape of the object.
The idea behind Fittle was first conceived by Tania Jain, a designer from the National Institute of Design in Gandhinagar, India under the mentorship of Dr. Anthony Vipin Das, associate director at the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) during a DIY workshop in Hyderabad, organised by LVPEI and the Camera Culture Group of Ramesh Raskar from MIT Media Lab.
So far, after the soft-launch of the project, enough 3D printers have been provided to the strategically most relevant locations to produce up to 50 models per day, with more donations coming in and more 3D printers being delivered as the project continues to raise awareness globally.
Christian Bulla, Head of Marketing, Ravensburger, stated, “As an international company dedicated to the playful development of children worldwide, our support of Fittle is a natural fit. Ravensburger’s core values are joy, education and togetherness, so it’s incredible to be involved with a project that clearly embodies these values to help children around the world.”
Christophe Bohlender, creative director, Serviceplan Health & Life, added, “As an agency we are truly driven by innovation to excite our clients. Fittle combines state of the art technology with a creative product idea to make a difference in the lives of many children around the world. To be part of this project is really exciting for me.”
Designer: Tania Jain
Agency: Serviceplan Health & Life and Serviceplan Innovation
Managing Partner Serviceplan: Matthias Harbeck
Serviceplan Health & Life:
Global Chief Creative Officer: Alexander Schill
Creative Partner: Mike Rogers
Creative Director: Christoph Bohlender
Creative Concept: J Jackson
Senior Art Director: Sven Hartmann
Creative Director: Franz Röppischer
Creative Director: Lorenz Langgartner
Art Director: SaurabhKakade
Junior Art Director: Pedro Nogueira Gropo
Senior Motion Designer: Dennis Fritz
Director of Photography: Chris Hirschhäuser
LV Prasad Eye Institute:
Dr Anthony Vipin Das: Consultant, Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service
Dr Beula Christy: Head of Services, Institute for Vision Rehabilitation
Senior Producer: MoniPichlmayer
Creative Solutions Colourist: Markus Baburske
Creative Solutions Recording Studio: Orange Sound Studios
Head of Marketing: Christian Bulla