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5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Braille

March 03, 2017All, Blog

Braille, named after its inventor Louis Braille, is a tactile writing system used by people who are blind or who have vision loss. Braille characters are small rectangular blocks or cells that contain palpable bumps called raised dots. The number and arrangement of the dots distinguish one character from another in braille. Check out these 5 facts about braille you might not have known. 

1. Braille is not a language.

It is a common misconception that Braille is actually a language. Braille is a tactile alphabet that can be used to write almost any language. 

2. Braille started out as a military code.

The origins of braille come from the French army in 1819. Soldiers created a military code called ‘night writing’ so they could communicate in darkness without speaking. As a young boy, Louis Braille learned about ‘night writing’ and at the age of 15 developed a more usable and streamlined version of the braille alphabet as the military code was too complex.

braille (1)

3. Braille takes up more space than the traditional alphabet.

Braille takes up a lot of space on a page. Braille books are much larger than traditional print books. For instance, in braille the book ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ is 10 volumes!

4. There’s a Braille Olympics.

Known as the Braille Challenge, it’s a competition that is run annually at the Los Angeles Braille Institute for students who are blind. Thousands of students from the US and Canada test their braille skills in categories such as reading comprehension, proofreading and spelling.

5. There’s a special machine that produces braille.

The Braillewriter only has six keys, a space bar, a line space and a backspace. The six keys on the Braillewriter are numbered to correspond with the six dots in a braille cell. Most braille cells contain more that one dot.

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