Defending Literacy among the Visually Impaired

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Before the nineteenth century, the visually impaired read letters using makeshift methods – either carved in wood or wax, formed by wire, or outlined in felt with pins.1Vexed by these arcane restrictions, Louis Braille invented his six-dot system in 1824 by building on the night writing method developed by a French Army officer for soldiers to send messages in the dark.

The system, in varying patterns of domino-like “cells”, provided a total of 63 permutations for different letters and numbers. Musical notes and a 64th permutation, known as the “space” symbol, were later included. 2 Noted for its simplicity, Braille’s method has since been globally adopted.


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