Born on this day in Coupvray, France, inventor Louis Braille (1809-1852) transformed a tragic accident that left him blind at the age of four into the creation of the Braille system of printing and writing for the blind.
The system was a simplified version of Charles Barbier's military coding method for sending and receiving messages in the dark. The Braille touch reading uses six raised dots positioned in a two-column rectangle with three dots each, in 64 possible combinations.
Braille was only 12 years old when he developed this remarkable system.
With passionate dedication, he worked on his alphabet of raised code for three years. In 1829, at the age 20, he published Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them.
He later applied Braille to the reading of music and mathematics. Today almost every country in the world uses Braille, which offers those who cannot see a chance to read and write. There are over 55,200 legally blind children in the U.S. (Legal blindness is defined as having vision worse than 20/200).
"Braille mastery and reading and writing are central to the success for anyone in the world, particularly for blind and visually impaired people," said Amy Ruell, director of the Braille Press. "Unless people can read and write and communicate clearly, there's no opportunity for them to compete equally among sighted people."
According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind's Braille Information Centre, "Braille is a building block of literacy. Literacy is a building block of independence."
Pay attention to the miracles all around you.