You are reading right now. (Lucky guess!) As your eyes observe the words on this page, an area deep inside your brain, called the visual word form area, is helping you turn the different shapes you’re seeing into letters. But wait—what if you couldn’t see the letters at all?
Braille is a tactile reading and writing system. People who are blind or visually impaired can use it to read by touch. In the Braille alphabet, raised dots spell out words, numbers, and punctuation. Each six-dot Braille “cell” offers 64 possible combinations. Advanced Braille even uses shorthand symbols for common words—sort of like when someone texts “ttyl” instead of “talk to you later.”
Incredibly, scientists have discovered that some people who read Braille by touch use the same part of their brains to read (the visual part!) as sighted people do.
Brilliant Brain Science
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Hot Dogs in a Hurry DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME
EVERY YEAR IN NEW YORK CITY, PEOPLE ENTER A CONTEST TO SEE HOW MANY HOT DOGS THEY CAN EAT IN 10 MINUTES.
The amazing thing about origami is the enormous number of different objects you can make by folding a square sheet of paper.
The Real-Life: BATMAN
HOW ONE PERSON SEES THROUGH SOUND
DO YOU HAVE ESP?
MAKE YOUR OWN ZENER CARD DECK AND FIND OUT!
SHOULD PEOPLE BECOME CYBORGS?
IN THE MARVEL COMICS AND MOVIES, billionaire Tony Stark dons a red and gold suit and becomes Iron Man.
E. PAUL ZEHR
BRAIN SCIENTIST, AUTHOR, SUPERHERO ENTHUSIAST
Life in the clear
THE SECRET TO BEING (ALMOST) INVISIBLE
Amazing Powers Of The Mind
What happens when scientists study psychic abilities?
A moth’s costume lets it hide in plain sight.