Adventure 18 ~ Going Off The (B)rails!

Today’s adventure involved learning Braille. What a whopper of an adventure it was too 🙂 .

Setting myself the challenge of learning the numbers 0-4 in Braille seemed quite do-able. I made myself some Braille cards to practise with (image below the second video) : I made them nice and large to make it easier for me. That was mistake number one because when I got to test out my Braille skills, I discovered that Braille is TINY (the little bumps are very close together too) and you need a very well-developed sense of touch (a bit of a concern for me with finger-tips hardened by 30 years of strumming a guitar!)

I decided to give my new skills a real-life run for their money by taking myself to a lift in a department store to see  if I could get myself from the 3rd floor to the 2nd floor.

How long do you think it took me to find the correct button to press? Watch the first video to find out! (I’ve put all the timing details  below the video).

What really surprised me about this whole adventure was how quickly the human brain can adapt. Watch the second video to see if my skills improve on my second attempt! (Again, you’ll find all the timings below the video).

Braille Lift Test 1

I set the clock ticking at 20 seconds when I was fully inside the lift. I had a bit of a panic when I realised that the Braille numbers weren’t on their own but preceded by a different character (that character turned out to be “#”). So my first task was to separate the preceding character from the number.

It took me 24 seconds to find the button for the 3rd floor. It took me 2 minutes and 35 seconds to correctly establish the location of the button for the 1st floor. It took me a whole 2 minutes and 45 seconds to find the second floor button! I realised that there were some buttons I didn’t know (Lower Ground and Ground). On returning to these buttons I incorrectly identified them as 4 and O  (so I learned that my brain distorted the information to make it fit with what it knew!)

I felt quite pressured during the experience – I even broke into a sweat. At one point I thought “I’m not going to get out of here”. Soon after this point , whilst fumbling with the 4th and O floor buttons, the thought arrived “what would happen if I ever lost my sight?”

Braille Lift Test 2

Unperturbed by the stress of my first Braille experience, I decided to have another go in a different lift. I was curious how I would fare.

The second lift had less “noise” – there were less buttons; I was ready for small bumps with tiny spaces between them; and I knew to expect unexpected characters. I was also ready to run a “distortion check” on the sensory information.

This time it only took me 13 seconds to locate the 2nd floor button! I found the 1st floor button in 26 seconds and the O button in 35 seconds. Within 45 seconds of entering the lift I was 100% confident of having located the button for the 2nd floor.

Human brains are BRILLIANT 🙂 🙂 🙂 I was astonished at how much easier it was the second time around and at how much I’d learned from the initial experience. Being able to apply the learning felt really good.

braille cardsHere’s my practice set of home-made Braille cards.

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT

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