The universally accepted writing system of Braille is being celebrated Wednesday, along with its impact on the world since its inception in 1824.
Here’s what we know about it.
How was Braille invented?
The Economic Times reported that before the development of the Braille method, blind and partially blind people used the Hauy system, where people etched Latin characters onto heavy paper or leather.
A Frenchman named Louis Braille, who became blind at 3 years old due to an accident, developed the Braille method after learning about a 12-dot cryptography system from French Army Officer Charles Barbier.
Barbier wanted to make it easier for all people to develop literacy and created the 12-dot cryptography system that Louis would go on to learn, according to Forbes.
After learning this method, Louis spent time outside of his classes with Barbier punching holes in paper and ended up developing the full 63-character system of Braille.
What is Braille?
Britannica reported that the Braille system has 63 characters, where each one is “made up of one to six raised dots arranged in a six-position matrix or cell,” and is universally accepted as a way of writing.
There are about 36 million people around the globe who are blind, according to a study by The Lancet Global Health.
The study estimated that global blindness will triple from the 36 million cases currently to 115 million cases by 2050.
Why is Braille celebrated today?
CNBC 18 reported that every year people celebrate Jan. 4 as World Braille Day to celebrate the importance of Braille in society.
Braille was born on Jan. 4, 1809, and in commemoration of him and his achievement, many celebrate his birthday as World Braille Day.
“The pandemic has revealed how critically important it is to produce essential information in accessible formats, including in Braille and audible formats,” the United Nations wrote in honor of World Braille Day in 2020.
The World Blind Union began this tradition and the United Nations General Assembly officially recognized the day in 2017. Since then, people recognize Jan. 4 around the globe as World Braille Day.