Braille Bombing

As part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, Monash University’s Inclusive Technologies research group partnered with the Australian Braille Authority to host a free braille bombing event. Participants were provided with the equipment and know-how to create braille labels for signage in Wesley Place, Melbourne,  to help improve accessibility and inclusion for people who are blind or have low vision.

Left: Slate and stylus with braille alphabet sheet. Right: Placing a clear sticky label on the pole for a parking sign.

What is braille and why is it important?

Braille is a tactile system of representing the written word using a combination of six dots. It was invented by a blind boy, Louis Braille, almost 200 years ago and it is still used as the primary medium for reading and writing by people who are blind or have low vision worldwide.

How can I learn braille?

Download and print this braille alphabet sheet to learn the braille alphabet and numbers. This is all you will need to know for braille signage in Australia.

But it’s not just letters and numbers. Did you know that braille has hundreds of wordsigns, shortforms and contractions to help make braille faster to read and write? That’s is why typing is faster in braille than in print! To learn the secrets of contracted braille, UEB online is a free self-paced braille learning program available at

Using a slate and stylus

A slate and stylus is the earliest and most simple way of creating braille.

Metallic braille slate with stylus.

Braille slates can be purchased commercially or you can 3D print your own. This slate was designed in Australia by NextSense and can be downloaded for free for 3D printing from

brightly coloured plastic braille slates

Download and print this slate & stylus cheat sheet to learn how the braille alphabet and numbers should be written in reverse when using a slate and stylus.

Workshop – Accessible Interactive Story Book Pages at MPavilion

MPavilion is an annual architectural commission in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens, opposite the Arts Centre. As part of their STEM series, we were excited to be invited to run a free public workshop on using eTextiles to create interactive accessible story books pages. Creating Tactile Stories was presented by Leona Holloway, Kirsten Ellis from Monash University and Louise Curtin from Feelix Children’s Library.

People sewing in MPavilion 2018, an open-air wooden architectural space.

In celebration of Braille Literacy Month, we talked about the importance of early, engaging tactile experiences as the first step towards (tactile) literacy for blind children. We then learned how to use eTextiles to sew a simple circuit with lights or buzzers, which we embedded in our handcrafted tactile story book page. We were delighted to see so many beautiful, creative and ingenious designs.

Some simple instructions on how to make your own eTextiles at home are given on the SensiLab website at Watch this space for more tips and resources to come.

Workshop participants touching a page depicting a furry blue cat with googly eyes.
This tactile cat purrs (vibrates) when its tail is patted.