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  • The story begins in 1812 in France and a young boy called Louis Braille.

  • He lost his sight in one eye when he was three.

  • This was the culprit, a sharp tool called an awl which he was playing around with in his father's workshop.

  • His eye got infected and the infection spread to the other eye.

  • By five, Louis Braille was completely blind.

  • But he was determined and he went on to win a scholarship at France's Royal Institute for Blind Youth.

  • At the time the system for reading was pretty basic, just raised letters on a page.

  • So he started working on a new code that would be quicker and more efficient.

  • By the time he was 15, Braille's new system was basically complete.

  • And the first edition was published in 1829.

  • Braille's system was based on a military code called "night writing."

  • Invented by captain Charles Barbier, it was a system of embossed dots and dashes that soldiers could read safely with their fingers on the battlefield at night.

  • Braille simplified the system, reducing the cells from 12 to 6 raised dots, so that they were the ideal size for a fingertip to feel with one touch.

  • Braille created his raised dots using an awl, the same sharp tool that had caused his blindness and a flat grill to keep the lines straight and readable.

  • It's read from left to right like other European scripts.

  • Braille is not a language, it's a system of writing, which means it can be adapted to different languages.

  • Braille codes have been developed for maths and scientific formulae.

  • Braille loved music and invented a system of Braille for writing music too.

  • But the medical establishment was conservative and Braille's innovation was slow to be adopted.

  • He died of tuberculosis aged 43, two years before his system was finally taught at the institute where he'd been a student.

  • 100 years later, he was reburied at the Panthéon in Paris in honour of his work.

  • Though his local village insisted on keeping his hands.

  • Over time, the system did spread throughout the French speaking world.

  • By 1882 it was in use across Europe and had reached North America by 1916.

  • A universal Braille code for English was formalized in 1932.

  • Braille has been revolutionary for many blind people around the world.

  • But with the rise of new technologies, including computers that talk, literacy rates are on the decline.

  • In 1999, a second eponym was given to this extraordinary man.

  • A rare type of asteroid was named 9969 Braille by Nasa.

  • A timeless tribute, to a great human being.

  • Thanks for watching!

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The story begins in 1812 in France and a young boy called Louis Braille.

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B2 UK braille system blind invented raised writing

The incredible story of the boy who invented Braille | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/11/24
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