What is DotsPlus Braille?

DO-IT Factsheet #15
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/articles?15

DotsPlus® Braille [1] is a two dimensional Braille format designed to express complex mathematical equations in a format similar to standard print math notation. DotsPlus Braille allows standard Braille and tactile graphical math symbols to be used simultaneously within spatial equations in a form identical to that used in standard printed math documents. Unlike traditional math Braille, DotsPlus is not a code but is a set of computer fonts that allow documents containing math to be printed using tactile spatial math that is readable by a person who is blind. The DotsPlus tactile fonts display in a visual print form on a computer screen or on a print document. To display tactile images, DotsPlus must be used with a specialized embosser capable of creating both Braille and tactile graphics, such as the Tiger® Braille printer [2] by ViewPlus [3].

One benefit of the DotsPlus tactile spatial math format is that it can be taught by sighted users without knowledge of Braille. DotsPlus Braille is often used by individuals who lose their sight later in childhood or as an adult, because they are already familiar with the two dimensional layout of standard print math notation. DotsPlus is relatively easy to master, and may be a viable alternative to using Nemeth [4] or other traditional Braille math for some students.

Another benefit of DotsPlus is that it does not require the use of Braille translation software or the knowledge of Braille transcription techniques. Anyone who is comfortable using mainstream Windows™ software can create accurate Braille math. When used with standard math notation software like MathType™ [5] by Design Science [6], faculty or support personnel can author or convert documents containing complex math expressions into DotsPlus Braille for students who are blind.

For more information on making math accessible consult the DO-IT Knowledge Base article, Are there commercial products designed to make math accessible to students with disabilities? [7]

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