Every day, we each perform thousands of tasks using different senses and parts of our bodies without thinking twice about it. But for some people, these daily activities aren’t so easy. People with physical impairments, ranging from the loss of sight to the loss of a leg, face hurdles that most of us don’t even consider. Fortunately, as technology makes life easier for everyone, innovations have also made life easier for people with physical disabilities. These nine inventions have helped many of the people in our communities do the things we take for granted each day.
For those of us blessed with sight, those strange little bumps we see on signs are totally foreign to us, but for blind people, Braille is a way of learning, being independent, and staying safe. Braille is a system that allows those without sight to read using their fingertips by assigning patterns of raised dots to each character in the alphabet and other symbols. Before the invention of Braille, books for the blind were made by embossing traditional letters, but they were time-consuming to produce and hard to read at a normal pace. Lessons were learned verbally, passed down from older students or tutors. A blind Frenchman named Louis Braille developed the idea, building on a rejected idea for a military code, and the system was put into practice in 1825. Today, you can find Braille on signs, telephones, and even the banknotes in some countries