The Fascinating Things You Didn’t Know About Braille

02 March 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House
Eren Li

If you’ve seen Rihanna’s album Anti, you may have noticed that the album cover features raised dots over the canvas. If you’ve neither seen nor heard of the album, don’t worry because the image is provided below.
Japanese House
So if you pay close attention to the image, you’ll be able to see the raised dots. These raised dots are what you call braille. The braille on this album cover is a poem written by Chloe Mitchell called If They Let Us. Braille is a type of tactile writing code that is used by people who have low vision or are visually impaired. Braille characters are created through a series of six raised dots arranged in a 3x2 matrix, otherwise known as the braille cell. And people read braille by tracing each line with the index finger from left to right.

It’s important to note that braille is actually not a language, but a writing system that allows the blind and visually impaired community to read and write. You can find braille in various public places and many products including books, menus, cash registers, elevators, toiletries, and public transportation. So, if you’d like to learn more about this important 200-year-old code for the blind and visually impaired people of the world, then have a quick read at this list.

  1. Braille is not a language.
    Braille is a tactile writing system that can be used to read and write in nearly any language. Braille is available in many languages like Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, and many more. In addition, there are also Braille codes for math, computers, and music.
  2. Braille is the name of an asteroid.
    Eleanor Helin and Kenneth Lawrence discovered the asteroid "9969 Braille," which was named after Louis Braille, at the Palomar Observatory using a Schmidt telescope. And on July 29, 1999, the NASA Deep Space 1 spacecraft made a close approach to the unique, elongated asteroid, as it was on its way to the Borrelly Comet.
  3. Braille was first created as a military code.
    Soldiers in the French army created a military code called “night writing” in 1819 so they could send messages in the dark without making any noise. And at the age of 15, Louis Braille created a more workable version of the alphabet after learning this code as a young child.
  4. Literary braille comes in two different types.
    The two types of literary braille are: uncontracted and contracted.

    Uncontracted braille is the most basic form of braille and it is mostly used by people who are trying to learn braille. It makes use of all 26 letters of the alphabet and spells braille words letter by letter.

    Contracted braille is also known as Literary Braille. It uses a shortcut system where one letter may be used to express a word or a phrase. Usually, this sort of braille is typically used in public places.
  5. There is a Braille Olympics.
    The Braille Challenge or Braille Olympics happens annually at the Los Angeles Braille Institute. Throughout the competition, thousands of students put their braille reading, comprehension, proofreading, and spelling skills to the test.

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