Louis Braille created the Braille system in 1824 after trying to improve upon the method being used at the time. Braille began to create his system while studying at the National Institute for Blind Youth.
Prior to the creation of Braille's system, the blind read by tracing the outline of raised letters on paper. The method was a slow and difficult technique for most people to learn. As a result, many blind people were left dependent on others to read text to them. Recognizing the challenge in this, Braille began to work on a system that helped the blind to read that relied on holes poked in paper.
Braille's idea was inspired by Charles Barbier, an officer in Napoleon's army who used a system of embossed dots to communicate with illiterate soldiers. The soldier visited Braille's school and demonstrated his method to the students. Braille improved upon Barbier's system after a few years of research and experimentation. Since then, Braille's system has been adapted into a wide range of languages and can be found in more places than just books. For instance, some ATM machines are equipped with Braille adaptations to allow blind customers complete transactions without having to rely on others for guidance.