You may have heard of echo location for bats and owls, but did ya know people can use it to? A blind man named Daniel Kish developed what he calls "Flash Sonar" using sound waves to navigate all sorts of environments and teaches blind teens to do the same. This device is meant to help the blind learn his technique. The printed part houses a Snapple bottle cap. Ya know? The ones that we click to annoy our friends? Well that click makes this simple print extremely useful for flash sonar. The glossy flat surface created by the bed when printing also makes it the perfect way to transmit sound to other objects (as a tympanum) allowing material identification for surfaces with misleading textures. When held flat to a door or table, it clicks louder allowing the blind to use their environment to map a full room even over background noises. The gear pattern not only allows for a solid grip when using it out in the world but also complex surface mapping by dragging the edge of the gear along hard surfaces to help pick up deviations that fingers just aren't sensitive enough to catch. When printed in PLA the dragging should be non marring on most surfaces. Check out the video of how it works here (apologies for video quality all I had was my phone):
The cap area is offset by .015 to the true dimension of the cap. Though the cap does fit snug, I recommend using a hard glue like gorilla glue to keep the cap in place. This print doesn't require high precision to work and can be printed on virtually any machine in about an hour or less. Taking a few of these to a local school for the blind this month, will update on how the kids like it.