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APH Press Release

The Hearst Foundations Award the American Printing House for the Blind $50,000 for 3D Printer to Speed the Design of Educational Products for Students Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired.

Louisville, KY. (August 31, 2016) – The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has received a grant from The Hearst Foundations for the purchase of an advanced 3D printer. It will bring significant financial and time savings to APH’s product development process.

“We are most grateful to The Hearst Foundations for their grant,” said Dr. Craig Meador, APH President. “This 3D printer will not only help APH save time and money, it will allow us to lead in creating innovative tactile products for the students we serve throughout the country. 3D printing offers almost limitless possibilities for students and adults for whom touch is their key to learning.”

Since 1858, APH has been researching, developing, and manufacturing quality products specially designed for people who are blind and visually impaired. An important part of the product development process is testing of prototypes by APH staff and other expert evaluators from the field of blindness. 3D printing is already used to create simple prototypes, quickly and inexpensively. The new advanced printer will allow APH to create larger, more complex prototypes using multiple colors and materials and allow for more accurate feedback from product testers.

This equipment upgrade will also enable APH to explore future uses of 3D printing in the education of students who are blind and visually impaired, including avenues for “on-demand” tactile teaching and learning tools previously unavailable because of technological, financial, and time limitations. Most schools serving this population have neither the financial capacity nor technical knowledge to explore the uses of 3D printing. As APH’s expertise grows, it can serve as a resource for others in the field as they explore the ever-broadening applications of this new process.

“The Hearst Foundations are pleased to provide a $50,000 grant to enhance the use of 3D printing in product development at APH. When considering first-time grant recipients, The Hearst Foundations look for strong, influential institutions with track records of successful service on significant levels. We commend APH’s long history of promoting independence and learning among people who are blind and visually impaired, and we believe that APH is well positioned to build on its dynamic leadership.” — Mason Granger, Director of Grants, The Hearst Foundations, New York, NY,

About the American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

APH is the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization devoted solely to creating educational, workplace, and independent products and services for people who are blind and visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the U.S. who are working at less than college level. APH manufactures over 1100 products with new products introduced each year.

The goal of APH is to be a center of knowledge regarding the research, development, and production of quality products as well as the provision of specialized services for blind and visually impaired people.

The American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. is located at 1839 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, call (502) 899-2357 or log on to