This cube can display Braille characters in a 2 x 3 array of dots on a selected face. Left to the Braille character, the corresponding letter or numeral can be displayed. The array of 2 x 3 dots allows to build a total of 64 characters including the space character.
An enhanced version, called 'Computer Braille', with an array of 2 x 4 dots is supported as well. Along with the additional 2 dots, located at the bottom left corner, a total of 256 characters are possible.
The layout of the Braille Cube was created in 2008 by Walter Randelshofer.
Braille is named after its creator, Frenchman Louis Braille, who went blind following a childhood accident. At the age of 15, Braille developed his code for the French alphabet in 1824 as an improvement on night writing.
Braille characters are small rectangular blocks called 'cells' that contain tiny palpable bumps called 'raised dots'. The number and arrangement of these dots distinguish one character from another. Since the various braille alphabets originated as transcription codes of printed writing systems, the mappings (sets of character designations) vary from language to language.
|A or 1||B or 2||C or 3||D or 4||E or 5||F or 6||G or 7||H or 8||I or 9||J or 0|
|,||;||:||.||!||( or )||? or «||»|
Braille is derived from the Latin alphabet, albeit indirectly. In Braille's original system, the points were assigned according to the position of the letter within the alphabetic order of the French alphabet, with diacritic letters and 'W' sorted at the end.
1st decade: The first ten letters of the alphabet, 'A' to 'J', use the upper four dot positions, 1, 2, 4, 5: ⠁ ⠃ ⠉ ⠙ ⠑ ⠋ ⠛ ⠓ ⠊ ⠚. These stand for the numerals '1' to '0' in a system parallel to Hebrew gematria and Greek isopsephy. (Though the dots are assigned in no obvious order, the first three letters and lowest numerals, 'A', 'B', 'C' or '1', '2', '3' respectively ⠁ ⠃ ⠉, and the vowels, 'A', 'E', 'I' ⠁ ⠑ ⠊, have the fewest dots, whereas the even numerals '4', '6', '8', '0' are corners, ⠙ ⠋ ⠓ ⠚.)
2nd decade: The next ten letters, 'K' to 'T', are identical to 'A' to 'J', respectively, apart from the addition of a dot at position 3: ⠅ ⠇ ⠍ ⠝ ⠕ ⠏ ⠟ ⠗ ⠎ ⠞.
3rd decade: The next ten letters are the same again, but with dots at both 3 and 6. Here 'W' was left out as not being part of the basic French alphabet.
4th decade: The next ten, ending in 'W', are the same again, except that for this series position 6 is used without position 3.
5th decade: The 'A' to 'J' series lowered in dot space become punctuation: ⠂ ⠆ ⠒ ⠲ ⠢ ⠖ ⠶ ⠦ ⠔ ⠴. Note that punctuation varies from language to language. For example, French Braille uses ⠢ for its question mark and swaps the quotation marks and parentheses (to ⠶ and ⠦ ⠴); it uses the period (⠲) for the decimal point, as in print, and the decimal point (⠨) to mark capitalization.
Bottom row: 'A' and 'C', which only use the top row, were lowered two spaces for the apostrophe and hyphen: ⠄ ⠤.
Zero characters: The remaining 12 possible characters, including the space, serve for the most part non-letter functions: ⠈ ⠘ ⠌ ⠜ ⠬ ⠼ ⠨ ⠸ ⠐ ⠰ ⠠. Braille has several formatting marks, these are for example in English Braille the 'Number Sign' (⠼), the 'Letter Sign' (⠰), the 'Capitalization Sign' (⠠), the 'Emphasis Sign' (⠨) or the 'Symbol Prefix' (⠐).