One of the weaknesses of screen-based media is how inaccessible it can be for people with impaired vision, who must instead rely on screen readers and other specialized tools to speak aloud the words in an online article. A special touchscreen tablet, made by a team at the University of Michigan, aims to bring braille into the future, by creating a readably tactile surface.
Developed in the 19th century in France by the code's eponymous Louis Braille, the system was inspired by a military system that used raised dots to create a text soldiers could read with their fingers in the dark of night without using any light that could give away their position to the enemy. Braille's codified system created words, letters, and characters out of a six-dot grid: two parallel rows each with three raised dots form a single Braille "cell." Like any system of writing, it's adapted to usage and time and often includes contractions and other shortcuts.