Lights for the blind are one design student’s innovative vision
December 10th, 2009
While studying a masters in Industrial Design in Milan, Sydney-based Rob Caslick was asked to submit an entry into a lighting competition run by the City of Milan.
A self-confessed “charity junkie”, Caslick set out to create ‘Lights for the blind’ – a lighting project “that actually helped people”.
After some research he came upon a statistic from the World Health Organisation estimating that 160 million people are diagnosed as blind and amongst them 90% have light perception.
“I went to the Blind Institute to check out a permanent exhibition that was basically a huge warehouse that had been completely blackened out. You get led around this warehouse by a blind person.”
“It was really amazing. You go to a cafe and get served a coffee (by a blind person), learn to cross the street, sit in a boat and go for a ride – all inside the warehouse and all the time being led by a blind person. Our guide was Silvia. She was an inspiration.”
Caslick set out to create Braille text using LEDs – the tips of which do not heat up, allowing the lights to be touched and read as Braille by those with little light perception.
“I found out that 30 blind people take the Metro to the Blind Institute daily. The panels run along the route they take.”
The concept was a winner and the exhibition currently runs the route between the courtyard of the Blind Institute and the nearest Metro Station and consists of 20 panels of quotes anecdotes and songs about lights and blindness, all written in Braille.
The exhibition runs from 6 December until 10 January 2010 as a part of the Milan Light Festival.
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