Helping Blind Students Study ChemistryVisually impaired students are often discouraged from taking science courses because they’re considered too dangerous or too visual for blind people. Bryan Shaw, a biochemist and biophysicist at Baylor University, has devised an ingenious method for helping blind students study chemistry.
While eating a blackberry at breakfast, Shaw mused on the similarities between the tiny fruit and the structure of molecules. He thought to himself that students living with blindness could benefit from learning with their tongues. Shaw and his graduate student published a paper in Science Advances about the success of using tiny 3-D models to help blind students sense and visualize protein structures using their mouths.
“When you've lost your vision completely…you need to utilize every single sense you have, and the tongue is the finest tactile sensor you have,” Shaw says.
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