CLOSE

These 3D Pictures Let the Blind 'See' Famous Artworks

Blind and visually impaired individuals might not be able to see the Mona Lisa’s mysterious smirk—but once the famous portrait is replicated in three-dimensional form, they’re able to experience her face through touch.

The Unseen Art Project wants to lend this kind of accessibility to all sightless people by re-creating classic paintings in 3D so that the flat brushstrokes come to life beneath their fingertips. To do this, the Helsinki-based endeavor plans to create open-source 3D models of works ranging from the aforementioned Mona Lisa to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Art lovers with access to 3D printers could print them out for free, allowing them to feel the visual contours and curves of masterpieces in their own homes.

The Unseen Art Project recently launched a crowdfunding project to supply universities, libraries, and schools across the world with 3D models. Eventually, they want to print out a whole tactile gallery of well-known paintings. For $30, you can help the blind see Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous work—and receive your own 3D-printed model of her smiling visage. And if you have a cool $1500 to spare, you'll get a full-sized version of the piece. Learn more about the Unseen Art Project in the video above.

All pictures courtesy of YouTube. 

[h/t Gizmodo]

Original image
Courtesy Chronicle Books
arrow
Design
Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
Original image
Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books
Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh
arrow
Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios