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Braille, described in this entry, is a useful system for reading and writing by touch that was developed by Louis Braille in 1829. Before that time, some of the available systems attempted to mimic the shapes of letters. Braille is derived from a 6-millimeter (mm)-high dot matrix and does not copy letter shapes. The use of embossed letter shapes was not a successful strategy because evidence indicates that Braille patterns are far more discriminable than letter shapes, according to Jack Loomis. Although it is certainly possible to use touch to read embossed print shapes, the patterns need to be much larger than Braille characters to be useful. One would need to enlarge embossed letters to at least 1 centimeter (cm) to make them easy to ...

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