It's increasingly apparent that schools can do exceptional things when you give them 3D printers. Need proof? The University of Wisconsin's Mechanical Engineering department is using its advanced selective laser sintering printer to make a wide range of intricate projects, including 3D music scores for the blind. The creation replaces Braille (which sometimes omits crucial details in music) with extruded versions of the same notes you see on regular sheets -- you can interpret those arpeggios in the same way as any other performer, rather than learn a separate system. The university is still refining the concept, so it may take a while before blind virtuosos are using 3D sheets in concerts. You'd need an easy way to mass-produce them, for one thing. If the technology pans out, though, it could open doors for vision-impaired artists.
[Image credit: Scott Gordon]