Did you Know

by admin Jan 4, 2006 Add comment

Filed under: Knowledge

If your are wondering what’s up with the Google logo–no, it’s not being hacked–if a blind man could feel his way around your screen, he would tell you it’s braille for Google! Looks like they are celebrating the birthday of Louis Braille, the creator of braille. Let us celebrate too, by learning a little about the creation of braille.

It was a French army captain, Charles Barbier de la Serre, who actually invented the basic technique of using raised dots for tactile writing and reading. His original objective was to allow soldiers to compose and read messages at night without illumination.

Barbier later adapted the system and presented it to the Institution for Blind Youth, hoping that it would be officially adopted there. He called the system Sonography, because it represented words according to sound rather than spelling. While the Institution accepted Sonography only tentatively, Louis set about using and studying it with his customary intensity. Soon he had discovered both the potential of the basic idea and the shortcomings in some of Barbier’s specific provisions, such as a clumsy 12-dot cell and the phonetic basis.

Within three years, by age 15, Louis had developed the system that we know today as braille, employing a 6-dot cell and based upon normal spelling. He also went on to lay the foundations of the braille representation of music, and in 1829 published the Method of Writing Words, Music and Plain Song by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged by Them.

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