Braille text
Image credit: Ralph Aichinger [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Louis Braille was born on this day in 1809, and thanks to the system of raised dots he invented, blind and vision-impaired people can read everything from elevator buttons to textbooks. I’ve watched people reading Braille, and frankly I find it astonishing that anyone can decode those tiny bumps, especially at high speed. At one time, Braille required the use of paper and either a stylus or a mechanical embossing device; now, electromechanical Braille displays are also available, making Braille output feasible for computers and other electronic devices. Unfortunately, in many contexts, Braille is an afterthought at best, and many types of text that could be rendered in this way are not, reducing its accessibility. Today, in remembering Louis Braille, we also call attention to the need for a more widespread adoption of his technique.