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Picture of Laser Cut Tactile Memory Game

This Instructables describes how to design and make a custom laser cut tactile Memory game that can be played by all learners, regardless of vision. This project was created by the Build a Better Book Project, a STEM outreach program based at the University of Colorado Boulder that engages youth in Making to create more inclusive media (including books and games) for children who are blind or visually impaired. We designed this tactile Memory game in collaboration with several children who were blind, together with their families. They had requested more inclusive games that could be played together as a family, regardless of whether individuals were sighted, blind or low-vision.

We have tested two versions of the Tactile Memory game: one is a laser cut version in which shapes are laser engraved on wood tiles; the other is a hand-crafted version that features raised shapes (created with Wikki Stix) mounted on laser cut wood tiles. Both versions can easily be customized with specific shapes or themes.

The Build a Better Book Project is supported by the National Science Foundation (ITEST award #1615247).

Step 1: Designing Laser Cut Memory Cards

Picture of Designing Laser Cut Memory Cards

We used Adobe Illustrator to design laser cut Memory cards featuring an assortment of laser-engraved shapes, including basic shapes (e.g., circle, hexagon, heart) and common objects (e.g., flower, tree, sun). We downloaded icons from The Noun Project, an online collection of free-to-use icons. (The Noun Project offers both free and paid accounts; we opted for the paid NounPro account, which helps to streamline the connection to Adobe Illustrator.) We created cards that are 2" x 2" square with rounded corners.

In selecting appropriate images for tactile memory cards, it is important to select images that are clear, without a lot of unnecessary detail or clutter in the image. Icons that have a distinct shape and/or include essential features work well for this game.

neal4a11y5 months ago
Love it!
These are wonderful! I also love that you have two versions people can make depending on the supplies they have :)
Thank you for sharing this awesome project! I love that you also included a low-tech/no-tech way to create the cards. :)