Students with visual impairments generally don’t look forward to getting an annual class yearbook.
But thanks to an engineering professor at Mercer University, this staple of the high school experience is available at the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon.
Last month, Sinjae Hyun presented seven graduating seniors with their first 3D yearbook.
"They're familiar with a yearbook, pictures which many of them cannot see. We tell them what's there. They're familiar with their siblings, their friends, getting their yearbook. They know that as a rite of passage for high school students," said Cindy Gibson, the superintendent of Georgia Academy for the Blind.
"But they have not experienced it. This is the next level of accessibility for our students.”
The yearbook consists of a board with plastic 3D printings of the students’ faces screwed onto it. When students touch the braille nameplates pasted beneath each printed face, blind classmates recognize each other.
The project took a little more than 150 combined hours over three months to complete, Hyun said.
Angel Lopez, one of the graduates, planned to hang the yearbook on his wall in his bedroom.
The project is expected to continue annually.
“I’m so proud of this creating lasting memories for them,” Hyun said. “So this is my kind of happiness here.”