Braille writing was invented by Frenchman Louis Braille, who was only 15 years old. Desperate for more books to read while he attended the Parisian National Institute for the Blind, Braille developed his famous system of raised-dot writing from "Ecriture Nocturne," a special military code.
Charles Barbier, who had developed the Ecriture Nocturne as a means for night writing in Napoleon's army, was invited to speak at the National Institute for the Blind when members of the French Royal Academy of Sciences recognized its additional usefulness to blind people. The system he had developed proved too complex for the students, however. Louis Braille suggested several improvements, which were rejected by Barbier. Nevertheless, Braille continued working with the Ecriture Nocturne and ultimately transformed it into the system still in use today.