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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Louis Braille

Sometimes, an accident or an unfortunate situation gives rise to various inventions
and discoveries. If that is going to benefit millions of people, then it is worth its effort.

A blind child or adult 200 years ago had no effective way to read and write independently. Today, thanks to the ingenious invention of Louis Braille, children and adults throughout the world can read and write as well as their sighted counterparts. Braille's invention was a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingertips.

The American Foundation for the Blind celebrates the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille's birthday on January 4, 1809, this year. We also celebrate the braille code, named after its young inventor, and the expanded possibilities for literacy, independence, and self-expression Louis Braille opened up to blind people everywhere.

The Reserve Bank of India, Chennai region has brought out a Rs.2 coin with the photograph and name of Braille written in braille to mark the birth bi-centenary of Louis Braille.

Louis Braille became blind at the age of 3, when he accidentally poked himself in the eye with a stitching awl, one of his father's workshop tools. The injury wasn't thought to be serious until it got infected. Braille's other eye went blind because of sympathetic ophthalmia.

Louis Braille began inventing his raised-dot system with his father's stitching awl, the same implement with which he had blinded himself, finishing at age 15, in 1824. Inspired by the wooden dice his father gave to him, his system used only six dots and corresponded to letters,

The six-dot system allowed the recognition of letters with a single fingertip apprehending all the dots at once, requiring no movement or repositioning which slowed recognition in systems requiring more dots. These dots consisted of patterns in order to keep the system easy to learn. The Braille system also offered numerous benefits over HaĆ¼y's raised letter method, the most notable being the ability to both read and write an alphabet. Another very notable benefit is that because they were dots just slightly raised, there was a significant difference in make up.

A man who has made it possible for those unfortunate people who have lost their eyesight to read and write!

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