Neurodigital presents

The first VR experience for the blind and visually impaired – not with a headset, but with a pair of gloves.

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Presenting some of the most iconic sculptural masterpieces in a digital world - for the blind.

The goal was to create 3D models for blind people, to let them experience the masterpieces in their full majesty.

We modified 3D models from laser scans of the original masterpieces by developing unique UV unwraps and re-topology, adding necessary extra levels of texture to create a real tactile experience.

To further improve the experience for the blind, the 3D models were split into several main pieces (e.g. hat, face, neck, body), and then the sculpture’s minor regions were added for life-like accuracy. In doing so, the visually impaired could finally touch and feel every detail of each masterpiece.

Additionally, a projection system enabled the 3D models to transform into a 2D "relief map". This allows the audience to scan features of the surfaces without the need to trace the 3D object borders.

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Making visual art finally inclusive for the blind and visually impaired people.

The human somatic sensory system has pressure receptors that help us feel when something comes into contact with our skin — and with the NeuroDigital VR haptic gloves, built with vibrotactile actuators, vibrations are sent to activate these receptors each time when the person touches a 3D object in virtual space.

Depending on the texture and shape of the virtual object, different vibrations are sent.

Keeping in mind that blind and visually impaired people see by touch, haptic feedback is configured to let them decide which vibrotactile actuators they want to use. In other words, letting them switch between their way of seeing – with either the finger tips, palms or hand, making the experience truly immersive for them all.

TECHNOLOGY PARTNER
NeuroDigital Technologies is a small startup in the south of Spain that set upon a mission to improve the quality of life through revolutionizing Virtual Reality. They have used TOUCHING MASTERPIECES as a project to show the world the amazing possibilities that VR haptics can bring to humanity.
CSR PARTNER
The Leontinka Foundation helps children and students with visual impairments to integrate into society by improving the quality of education through teaching aids, equipment and ancillary activities. TOUCHING MASTERPIECES brings visually impaired digital natives unprecedented accessibility to Visual Art.

With special thanks to:

The Head of Nefertiti

1345 B.C. BY THUTMOSE

On display at Neues Museum
in Berlin, Germany

The bust of Nefertiti, one of Egypt’s most famous queens, was buried in the Egyptian desert for more than 3300 years before its discovery in 1912 - and she has been captivating the public with her beautiful and disconcertingly modern appearance ever since.

“Suddenly we had in our hands the most alive Egyptian artwork. You cannot describe it with words. You must see it.”

LUDWIG BORCHARDT, HEAD OF THE GERMAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL TEAM
Download the 3D model

Venus de Milo

150 B.C. BY ALEXANDROS OF ANTIOCH

On display at the Louvre Museum
in Paris, France

This graceful figure of a goddess has fascinated art lovers for almost two centuries, ever since its discovery in 1820, on the small Greek island of Melos.

“The Venus de Milo is an accidental surrealist masterpiece. Her lack of arms makes her strange and dreamlike. She is perfect but imperfect, beautiful but broken—the body as a ruin. That sense of enigmatic incompleteness has transformed an ancient work of art into a modern one.”

JONATAS JONES, BRITISH ART CRITIC
Download the 3D model

David

1504 A.D. BY MICHELANGELO

On display at Galleria dell’ Accademia
in Florence, Italy

Michelangelo's David is the best expression of Renaissance humanism, the triumph of man as a rational being.

“When all was finished, it cannot be denied that this work has carried off the palm from all other statues, modern or ancient, Greek or Latin; no other artwork is equal to it in any respect, with such just proportion, beauty and excellence did Michelangelo finish it.”

GIORGIO VASARI, THE RENAISSANCE PAINTER AND THE FOUNDER OF ART HISTORY AS SUCH.
Download the 3D model

Some of the world’s most precious sculptural masterpieces become visible to the blind and visually impaired people, thanks to new age digital technology.

A collaboration between:

  • Neurodigital
  • Leontika Fundation
  • National Gallery of Prague
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Discover the story behind Touching Masterpieces.

For centuries, art has been a universal medium of expression that has, and continues to, connect language, time and culture.

Art however, in its various forms, materials and interpretations, is still not accessible to everyone.

Out of 7.595.145.000 people living, over 36.000.000 are blind from birth and 217.000.000 have moderate to severe vision impairment. And in today's information age, the only way the blind can experience art, is through the senses of tactility and sound.

Whilst the internet does provide descriptive audio, only some iconic masterpieces are presented in such a manner, and in just a few museums, globally.

Thus, millions of people have literally not seen, and will never see, sculptural masterpieces such as the head of Nefertiti, the beauty of the Venus de Milo or Michelangelo's David, to name just a few – until now.

NeuroDigital invites Prague’s visually impaired people to a new age of digital accessibility, to see what has previously been unseen.

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Presenting the Masterpieces in Prague.

In a Virtual Space (VR), we replicated three of the world’s most precious sculptural masterpieces that have marked pivotal moments in art history:

The Head of Nefertiti (1345 BC), Venus de Milo (101 BC) and David by Michelangelo (1504 AD).

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Seeing them for the first time.

With Haptic feedback gloves, blind people could ‘see’ the world’s most precious masterpieces for the first time.

Finally, missing knowledge for thousands of blind people would be filled in.

Where can I touch the exhibit?

Anywhere. All you need to do is download the masterpieces from the site and use the necessary equipment.