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Humans Can Learn to "See" With Sound

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posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 10:42 AM

Inspired by a blind man who also navigates using sound, a team of Spanish scientists has found evidence that suggests most humans can learn to echolocate.

The team also confirmed that the so-called palate click—a sharp click made by depressing the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth—is the most effective noise for people to use.

Daniel Kish, executive director of World Access for the Blind in Huntington Beach, California, was born blind. He taught himself to "see" using palate clicks when he was a small child.

Kish is able to mountain bike, hike in the wilderness, and play ball games without traditional aids.

The wonders never cease!

The students were asked to close their eyes and make sounds until they could tell whether any objects were nearby.

After just a few days of training, the students had all acquired basic echolocation skills, the scientists report in the March/April 2009 issue of the journal Acta Acustica.

A few days of training and you too could have these new skills!

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 10:53 AM
Was reading htat yesterday on science daily... exreamly impressive. We have the potential to rival bats in our echolocation skills.

With help from science this could really open doors for the blind who cant afford a new set of electric eyes

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 10:55 AM
Here is a kid that uses the same principal.
No victim mentality here whatesoever!

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 11:41 AM
Interestingly enough as a young boy who lived in the basement where power outages were frequesnt, and the light switch was 40 feet from my bedroom, echolocation would have been ideal. One day I saw something like this on Discovery channel and started trying it. Today I can use echolocation both passively and actively to navigate through some extent. Allow me to explain. Human echlocation for those of us who can still see is a bit less advanced than that of a blind person. When a human loses a sense, the part of the brain devoted to that sense begins to process another sense, since I can still see, my ability to sense is less than that of a blind person. Like riding a bicycle, you can still learn to echolocate, but it requires that you get your brain in gear for it.

Human echolocation seems to get confused with seeing with sound, it is not. If I were to be navigating a dark staircase using echolocation, I would still trip on the roller skate on a stair, with echolocation, I would simply know that there was a slope ahead of me, and deduce that there was a staircase.

Likewise, if there were thumbtacks scattered on the floor of a room and I was using echolocation to navigate, I would sense the layout of the room, but not be able to detect the objects on the floor.

So now I bring you to understanding human passive and active sonar. Active sonar is like what the dolphin is doing, clicking, putting out quick pulses of sound waves and listening for variations to produce a 3d "picture" for humans, we cannot focus the active pings like a dolphin and simple radiate sound waves, this makes it much harder to detect where sound is bouncing back from.

Passive sonar in humans is different. If I were standing in front of a void like a staircase, I might hear things like the sound of my breath or feet echoing, even a few yards. If I were standing in front of a wall, I would feel the vibrations of my movement bouncing back.

While echolocation is pretty much useless for most humans, it sure kept me from stubbing my toes in the dark basement as often.

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 01:58 PM
I just think it's funny that it took a team of scientists to figure out what common sense tells us.

I've used echolocation palate clicks ever since i figured out that things echo back, and that was when i was a wee lil feller. I didn't know it was undiscovered, else i would have said something to the world when i was 6
It's value lies in range finding mostly, figuring out how far away something is. Sound reveals at about 1116 ft/sec, and knowing that, if i pinged a canyon wall ahead of me, and the sound returns after about 2 seconds, i can roughly deduce that the wall is just under a quarter mile away. At longer range palate clicks start to get lost, and a good hand clap or a sharp barking vocalization at the higher end of the audible frequency spectrum works well. Higher pitched sounds return sharper and louder than low sounds. If you pay attention to echoes and can hear with both ears this should take you a few minutes to learn how to do

Martial artists use it passively to listen for changes in the ambient sounds and determine if an unseen opponent is approaching.

Ever see blind people tap their cane and make a clicking noise? They're not just feeling with the tip of the cane, they're seeing with it's sound.

But still, i think listening to your surroundings attentively and using that information to determine relative location to such objects isn't really a scientific discovery. It's as much science as saying that i "scientifically discovered" that humans can drown ants by peeing on them. It's just called paying attention to your relationship with the perceived physical world.

posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 09:47 PM
How to use my own Echolocation skills?

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