NUMBRL was originally intended for sighted people; however, it might also be a way for vision-impaired adults with an interest in numbers to begin to learn about braille or for both blind and sighted students to learn about number systems.
It is useful for beginners who want to become more familiar with the dot patterns or for anyone who wants a convenient analog way of representing the cells without using dot patterns directly.
NUMBRL is a numeric code that represents the dot patterns in braille cells; it is an alternative to listing the filled dot positions that some people find more useful.This page starts with an explanation of how to determine the NUMBRL codes for the braille cells. Tip! The explanation is followed by a number of very useful things you can do with this idea.
A NUMBRL code is easy to determine: you just look at a braille cell and sum up
the NUMBRL values associated with its filled dot positions according to the
do not sum the positions, sum the position values. )
Consider, for example, the cell with filled dot positions 1-3-5. The NUMBRL code
for this cell is 10+40+2 = 52. Dotless Braille Tip!
NUMBRL is based on the binary and octal number systems. You don't need to know anything
in order to use it, but if you are curious, you might want to check out
Consider, for example, the cell with filled dot positions 1-3-5. The NUMBRL code for this cell is 10+40+2 = 52.
Dotless Braille Tip! NUMBRL is based on the binary and octal number systems. You don't need to know anything about these in order to use it, but if you are curious, you might want to check out this page.)
Making use of NUMBRL
The special value of NUMBRL is that it is not just a braille analog--which allows you to reconstruct the dot patterns--but a braille analog designed especially for humans: the two digits of the code for a cell are in the same left-to-right order as the cells' columns when the cells are read and the code is symmetric for the two columns.
The English Braille chart to the left shows all 63 braille cells again arranged in numerical order by their NUMBRL codes but with the English Braille meanings for the braille cells written under the cells. If you are a beginner, you've probably discovered that trying to find a particular braille cell by searching through all the cells the way they are usually arranged is difficult. Tip! However, if you know how to calculate a cell's NUMBRL code, you can easily find it in this chart.
Dotless Braille Tip! You can make your own customized NUMBRL charts with a word processor table. Once you are familiar with the code, it isn't even necessary to put the dot patterns in the squares in the table.This leaves more room for writing in notes about the different meanings that the various braille cells have in different contexts.
Dotless Braille Tip! Some sighted people use the NUMBRL codes to take Braille notes by hand because they find it easier to write these code numbers than either the regular dot position numbers or the actual dots.
Dotless Braille Tip! NUMBRL is also useful for making up your own Braille-English and English-Braille dictionaries which you can keep as Tables in a word processor.(Most word processors let you sort tables so you can use the same table for both dictionaries; just change which column you are sorting on.) For words, you can just string together the codes for the letters. The cells in the logo are
Dotless Braille Tip! NUMBRL is useful for six-key typing even if you don't know braille.If you have a six-key brailler, stick labels above the keys for the NUMBRL position values as shown in the photo:
Dotless Braille Tip! The arrangement of the cells in order by their NUMBRL codes shows the relationships among the dot patterns of the various cells in a different way. As you can see by the charts on this page, it is easier to find mirror-image pairs and other relationships in this arrangement than in the standard arrangment. Some people also find that this arrangement is helpful for memorizing the dot patterns.