How is braille produced?

A number of manual and electronic devices can be used to write braille - the system of raised dots that people who are blind can read by touch.

More information on the history of braille here

Hand frame and stylus

Hand frame and stylus

A hand frame, or slate, is a metal or plastic template with rectangular openings that represent each of the six dots in the braille cell. A frame can have one to 28 lines depending on the size of the document to be brailled.

To create braille, a sharp implement called a stylus is used to punch out the dots. When using a frame, each word must be written from right to left so that when the page is turned over the indentations can be read from left to right.

Dymo Labeller

Dymo labeller

The Dymo Labeller is hand held machine that embosses braille on 12mm-wide adhesive vinyl tape. The labeller has a print and braille alphabet and 45 character positions, which include numbers and 12 abbreviated words known as 'contractions'.

The Perkins Brailler

Perkins Brailler

The Perkins Brailler is about the size of a portable manual typewriter. It operates on the same principle, but only has six embossing keys that represent the six dots in a braille cell. It is the most common device used to write braille.

The Mountbatten Brailler

Mountbatten Brailler

The Mountbatten Brailler produces braille electronically and runs on batteries or electricity. Along with many other features, it is especially useful in schools as it can convert braille to print and print to braille when it is plugged into a computer keyboard. This enables parents and teachers who are sighted to communicate with a child who is blind in a format that all of them can read.

Electronic note takers

Electronic note taker

Electronic note takers are mini personal computers with a typewriter style keyboard or a braille keyboard. Information can be listened to through a speech output system or read in braille through a tactile display.

Note takers have diary functions, calculators and can transfer data to other devices. They can also be used for word processing, telling the time or date and storing telephone numbers and addresses.

Other technologies

Select this link to read about other braille technologies

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