3D printed overlay plates will help the visually impaired at upcoming election

Kristoffer Ryelund Nielsen

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3D-printet overlægsplade for synshæmmede - til afstemning

3D printed overlay plates will help the visually impaired at upcoming election

The Danes will soon be voting on the Danish EU defence reservation and for this election, Danish Technological Institute has designed and produced a new type of 3D-printed overlay plate for the ballot paper. The plates will help the visually impaired in the ballot box in several of the country's municipalities.

When visually impaired people go to the ballot box to vote on the EU defence reservation, they can now in several municipalities get help from a new type of overlay plate, which will ensure that they put the cross in the right yes or no field. Danish Technological Institute has developed and designed the 3D-printed overlay plate for the ballot paper, and the aid will be available in eight municipalities at the forthcoming poll.

- In addition to 3D printing being fast at taking you from idea to finished product, we have also tried to make the overlay plate a little nicer with round edges and in an envelope shape, which makes the election more precise - because with 3D printing there are fewer limitations on the design. Overall, this has resulted in us making a better product that does not cost extra, because with 3D printing it is free to make it more complex, says business manager Kristoffer Ryelund Nielsen, Danish Technological Institute.

3D-printet overlægsplade for synshæmmede - til afstemningThe overlay plate is 3D printed in plastic - specifically SLS Nylon PA 12 - where the plate itself is adapted to the official dimensions and requirements for ballot papers. In addition, the overlay plate has been given an envelope shape, which ensures that the paper is placed correctly in relation to the fields with "Yes" and "No". Furthermore, the scripture part sticks out on the paper, and if you have a companion in the ballot box, it will therefore be possible for the person to read it aloud.

10 plates quickly turned into 150

Based on an idea from Ikast-Brande Municipality, the plate has been produced and delivered to eight municipalities, including Aarhus, Hørsholm and Vesthimmerland.

- The idea came the home office, where my husband jokingly said, "then I have to print them", when I shared my frustration that the market wasn’t exactly flooding with suppliers of this niche product at a price, I found reasonable. On previous occasions I have visited the Danish Technological Institute's 3D printing lab, which greatly exceeds the capacity of most hobby printers. And I thought that it was an obvious solution to ask them, says Ellen Bach Fjendsbo, Staff Employee at Ikast-Brande Municipality.

With the sudden increase in municipal interest in the specially designed overlay plates, it is a clear advantage that the plates are 3D-printed. The short and fast path from idea to finished product is one of the great advantages of the 3D printing technology - together with the production speed itself.

The great thing about 3D printing is that we can print many - and we can print them quickly. It is the speed of 3D printing that allows us to print many at short notice

- Kristoffer Ryelund, Danish Technological Institute

In addition to the overlay plate being easy to use for potential users, it must also live up to the specific requirements of the legislation. The requirements are described in the Executive Order on aids to be made available at the time of voting, Chapter 3 §7. The size is defined in relation to the design of the ballot paper, which is defined and determined by the Ministry of the Interior and Housing.