A tactile reading and writing system of raised dots representing letters, symbols, punctuation, and other characters and notations, primarily used by many individuals who are blind or have low vision.


Louis Braille invented this writing system, which is typically read with fingertips, in the 1800s as a student attending the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. He didn't invent the concept of a written communication system that didn't rely on vision, but he greatly improved what was available at the time, making it faster to create and consume. His system evolved from a code for sending military messages that could be read at night, called Ecriture Nocturne, explains the American Foundation for the Blind.

The Braille system is a versatile way of improving literacy and access to materials, but it is not used by everyone who is blind. Despite common misconceptions, some estimates state that about 10% of students who are blind are taught Braille today.

Braille is often confused as a language, but it is not a language at all. Instead, Braille provides a code that allows for its use in many languages, as well as mathematics, music, and more.