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Friends help Elliot be independent

Friends help Elliot
Two National Star learners are using 21st century technology to help their friend become more independent at college.

Elliot Roberts is visually impaired and needs support everywhere he goes, including short trips around National Star’s residence in Gloucester.

His friends and fellow learners Kristian Harrison and Steve Martin have come up with a unique solution. They are making Elliot a personalised 3D tactile map of Elizabeth House, where they all live.

‘The idea came from our discussions with Elliot. We wanted to make something that would make his life easier at Elizabeth House,’ says Steve, age 23.

Steve and Kristian, who uses a communicator he controls with his eyes, learned to use special software to create a three-dimensional map of the residence.

Elliot can’t feel enough with his fingertips to read Braille, so Steve and Kristian had to create a new language for him. The map has raised sections with different shapes to help Elliot differentiate rooms and lifts.

The 3D printer was paid for by a donation from engineering company Renishaw.

‘We made a lot of mistakes, but we have fixed them along the way,’ says Kristian, age18.

‘I’m really excited about the project and how it can help others.’

‘The map means I can be more independent at college,’ says Elliot, age 20.

The trio were invited to show off their work at the Bett Show, the world’s leading education technology event staged in London.

Find out more

Find out more about National Star’s residential services or contact the Admissions team at or on 01242 534928.

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