LEGO instructions for the blind- A Moment of Science

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LEGO has and always will be for everyone. For kids and adults, boys and girls, it’s a way to play and relax.

There’s nothing like the sound of LEGO, ripping open the package, then reading the instructions and building the set. For Christian Oman- it’s a bit more complicated.

“I had brain cancer…. It affected my eyesight and some of my hearing.”

Blind at 6, now attending Stratford High School in Goose Creek, Christian is working to make LEGO more accessible for others like him.

His art teacher, Kate Montella, said “He always had a bin of LEGOs on his desk, he’d always be building something. So as I got with talking to him more, he told me that he had this idea to help students who are visually impaired- by creating an instructional booklet that they could feel in the lettering of braille but also they could feel the pieces. And I thought that was really cool, so we’ve been working out ways to try and figure out ways together for a few years now.”

Different pieces are coming together- Kate and Christian working together to describe the pieces used in the build, working with the school’s engineering program to scan, enlarge,  and 3-D print the bricks used to provide a bigger, better tactile guide for the blind, and most importantly- translating and typing the instructions in braille. Which Christian does on a specialty typewriter.

It’s time-consuming, tedious work, but Christian pushes forward- “usually I try to be a fighter. Get through a lot of things,” Christian says as he hopes to create another way to the visually impaired to play. “Me… I’m blind but this would probably help out to make things a bit easier to help put the sets together to be more independent.”

“Like I’m gonna cry talking about him… I feel like he’s just a normal teenage kid- but like not normal, he’s extraordinary. He likes all the same things, talking to friends, he stays for art club sometimes and we play games like braille uno, he just loves to interact and help people and that’s what draws me to him so much. He’s a really great person and I’m so glad to be able to work with him- I feel very lucky,”

He is truly an inspiration- using creativity and technology to create a better way to play. 

Storm Team 2 Meteorologist David Dickson

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