Learning Braille as a senior project.

Archive for the month “April, 2012”


So apparently, I’ve been practicing reading Braille incorrectly. What I’ve been doing is taking my right index finger and rubbing over the raised dots and scrambling through all the different dot combinations in my head to try to remember which character it is. It feels like a three-part process, which it probably shouldn’t be: first, I feel the raised dot combinations, and then convert what I feel into a visual image of what the raised dot looks like, which then leads me to knowing what character it is. I’m pretty sure that second step shouldn’t really be happening, if I was doing it right. I’ve tried to mostly stick to memorizing the Braille alphabet by touch only, but initially I did memorize what they looked like visually – sight-reading Braille, essentially. I want to get away from that now, though, because I want to be able to actually read Braille by touch, not sight.


I also need to let up on how hard I press my finger on the Braille dictionary I’ve been practicing on. Appparently, you’re only supposed to lightly brush your fingers over the raised dots, otherwise it interferes with the flow of reading.

Also, I have this annoying tendency of moving my finger within the Braille cell – in essence, not covering the cell completely with my finger, meaning that I lose that flow that needs to be there in order to read Braille rapidly, as well as sometimes missing raised dots because I’m not brushing my finger over the cell fully.

Must. Practice. More. More. More.


The Wonders of Technology

Here are some VERY cool iPhone apps I found – and relatively cheap, too!

LookTel Money Reader ($9.99): recognizes currency in real time
SayText (free): scans text in image and reads it out loud
Color Identifier ($1.99 or free): identifies and speaks specific color names. It can also distinguish specific color shades of the sky (sunsets, cloudy)
Light Detector ($0.99): emits a sound which intensifies as a light source is found and approached. (For example, to find the nearest exit.)

No can do

Unfortunately, I was not able to get a hold of Harry Potter in Braille. Nor any book, for that matter. The reason is because of the Braille “grades” I mentioned in a previous post. Most Braille books contain contracted (Grade 2) Braille, which is basically a form of shorthand Braille used to reduce the number of cells used for each word. For example, with uncontracted Braille, the word “and” has 3 cells – one for each letter. With contracted Braille, there’s actually already a specific dot cell formation for the word, precisely because it’s used so often. While not all words have contracted forms (pronouns don’t, for example), it requires an additional memorization of words and endings.

Post Navigation