204th Birthday of Louis Braille

How do blind people read?

Image Credit: Flickr user rolanddme, via CC

How do you think the blind people read? Yes, they can read too!! They read by tracing their fingers over bumps on paper called raised dots. Each set of bumps means something. This special system for reading and writing is called Braille. Do you know who invented it?

Louis Braille, 1809 - 1852

Braille was created by a French man called Louis Braille. Louis was born on January 4, 1809. When he was just three years old, an accident blinded him. But, his blindness never dampened his spirits. He was an intelligent and hardworking man who wanted to study like all other children. So, his father sent him to one of the first schools for blind children in the world, the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. Louis was a brilliant student, and while he appreciated the efforts of his teacher, he felt that the learning was extremely limited.

In 1821, while still studying, Braille met Captain Charles Barbier of the French Army. He shared how soldiers used his invention of ‘night writings’ so that they could read or share information on the battleground with no light. It was a series of dots and dashes impressed into thick paper. These bumps could be interpreted entirely by the fingers!!! This inspired Braille to create something similar for the blind. After working on it for three years, he came up with Braille – Reading and writing code for the blind. He was just fifteen years of age at that time.

Braille on paper

Image Credit: Flickr user sooperkuh, via CC

Braille characters are small bumps called raised dots that can be felt if readers trace their fingers over them. The number and arrangement of these dots distinguish one character from another.

Braille is used in daily life - currency, elevator, menu and signs

Image Credit: Flickr user ctaweb, via CC

Blind people lead a perfectly normal life thanks to Braille. Now a days Braille is not only found in books, but also on menus, signs, elevator buttons, and even some currency!!

Thank you Mr. Braille :)

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