01 What is Braille?


Braille is a tactile writing system and is used by the blind and severely visually impaired, as they cannot read blackletter or can read it only with difficulty. It was developed by Frenchman Louis Braille in 1825. The script consists of dot patterns that are usually pressed into paper from behind and can be felt as raised areas in the front with the fingertips.

A dot grid of 3×2 dots is used to encode letters and groups of letters. The six dots can be used to represent 64 different characters. To extend the character range, for example, upper and lower case, special characters are defined, pointing out corresponding switches or double assignments.

Beyond the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet and the 10 digits, additional letters and letter combinations were defined depending on the language and adopted as national standards.
An overview can be found in the World Braille Usage, Third Edition (pharmabraille.com).

With the advent of electronic data processing, the Braille system was expanded to 8 points and a standard was defined that was used in computing: Computer Braille or Eurobraille. Eurobraille refers to the mapping of the 256 characters of a Western European character set to the 256 possible 8-point Braille characters of Computer Braille. The character set ISO 8859-1 is used.
The exact assignments of the 8-dot Braille to the 8-bit code are defined in the DIN standard 32982.