The 6 Raised Dots: The Story of Braille

World Braille Day is celebrated every year on the 4th of January. It marks the birthday of Louis Braille, who invented the raised-dot system which has helped blind and partially sighted people read and write in an easier way since the 19th century.

Louis was born in France on this day 1809, and lost his sight at the age of 10. He was accepted to a school for blind youth shortly after, and he quickly realized that there wasn’t a good way for someone blind or partially sighted to read books or write.

Inspired by military code system

At that time, the method used for reading was raised alphabetic letters in the books. The reader had to trace every single letter – a very time-consuming task.

Louis learnt about a dot-based military code system, used for night-operations, and became inspired. However, the military system was too complicated, and Louis spent the next couple of years making his own simplified version of it.

Louis was only 15 years old when he introduced his system of 6 raised dots in different combinations to represent the alphabet. His invention made it possible for blind and partially sighted people to read and write in an easier way. Today, braille is used all over the world!

You can learn more about Louis Braille in this interesting video from HowStuffWorks:

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Royal National Institute of Blind People

World Blind Union