The Braille system of writing is very fascinating. Born from a need for soldiers to communicate silently and in the dark during Napoleon’s campaign, and perfected by a blind child, Louis Braille, the system has provided a means for the blind to read using touch rather than sight. It may be long before our time of cell phones, PDAs, and electronic cigs, but this technological advancement was amazing for its time, when blind reading was basically running your hands across large embossed letters on a copper sheet.
Each character in Braille is separated into a group of six dots, called a cell. By rubbing your finger from left to right across these cells, you are able to ‘read’ the characters by feeling which dots are raised up into bumps and which ones are smooth. However, it can be considered not a perfect system because there are not very many combinations of six dots, and some of those combinations are not use-able because they feel very similar to other dots. For example, two dots in the left column could mean the letter ‘B’, the number ’2′, and the word ‘but’. A single dot can mean a capital letter is next, and A backwards L of dots means that the next set of cells is a number, and etc.
What’s also amazing about Braille is that it also uses sounds to communicate in the same way it uses letters. Just like texting today, you can make illegible sets of characters that don’t make any sense unless sounded out. Like ‘ur’ for texting, meaning ‘your’, you can spell out ‘cd’ in Braille to mean ‘could. Or ‘abv’ to mean ‘above’. While Braille was never meant to be a secret code of sorts, it helps the blind read quicker, as Braille sentences and paragraphs are much larger than ones in traditional text.