More and more software packages are using visual paradigms, such as drag and drop, to either represent program code or some other logical structure. This is great for the more modern approach to programming as it offers a lot of flexibility, is more understandable and is generally more approachable due to it being simpler than initial programming methods.
This is great for most users, but it precludes anyone with certain needs, such as;
- Visual Impairment - Anything from being short sighted to no light perception is very detrimental to this type of programming as it is mostly visual in terms of blueprint programming.
- Poor Fine Motor Control - Users who struggle with precise mouse control which can inhibit what the user could do with this modern approach.
- Offline users - Users who do not have a computer available to them either at home or in their vicinity and / or internet connection available as it may be good to own a computer but people are quite limited without access to the internet as most things these days are online.
- Tactile learners - Some users just prefer things they can touch, meaning as technology develops people start to obtain a taste in new technologies and if something doesn't use an interface or development in general that they like, they are less likely to want to use it.
By making these virtual items physical by simply printing the individual nodes so that it is something you can hold in your hand, with Braille and text, they become more accessible as it reaches to user groups that wouldn’t normally be able to access this new way of programming.
Which leads to the overall aim of this project that is to convert virtual items from any software package into physical objects, that can be accessed by different groups of people that couldn’t normally do this .
The way in which these virtual items are converted into physical objects is as follows;
- Ideally a textural representation of the virtual item is copied to the clipboard or a file
- This file is reduced to a normalized format. If a textural representation is not available, then the description of what is needed must be written by hand, using the normalized format.
- The normalised format uses pre-written templates to create an OpenSCAD source file
- The OpenSCAD source file is converted to a 3D model source file, with the extension .STL
- The .STL file is then sent to a 3D printer for printing.
To simplify this process, we have created three different tutorial paths, depending on what you aim to do next.
Users are the sole driver of this project. The resources we create are solely based around them as this project was made for the users as they are the ones that use the end product.Tutorials for Users
These are the people that will help distribute the end product from this project to the users that need/want it. They also help those users to access these resources.Tutorials for Facilitators
For this project to develop, we can through the help of other developers so that this project can continue to have added functionality and continue to reach new users and audiences. Which is very important for what this project set out to do as it is it’s sole purpose. To help the users.Tutorials for Developers