Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Mysterious Snapping Friend

SNAPImage by Tojosan via Flickr

I just found out that one of my friends has been using echolocation her whole life. She assumed everybody could do it. She uses finger snapping.
It is actually fairly clean and I can navigate without bumping into too much stuff and with some speed.
This friend of yours does sound quite remarkable. I'd love to get a guest post from her on how she's been using it, why she started using it originally, and where she thinks it benefits her the most.

I tried snapping today and made a couple observations about it. First, it does seem to be pretty useful, it also gives you the ability to move your hand position around so that it is in front of your body or off to the side which blocks the sound from the opposite side of your body giving you resolution of whichever direction you choose as opposed to having to click with your tongue.

Another thing you can do is put your snapping hand out in front of your face and put your other hand between you and your snapping hand so that the initial sound is blocked from your ears and you only get the reverberations from the surroundings. This tends to bring out a little more clarity.

Not to mention that it is much more natural and socially acceptable than tongue clicking.
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

I crashed into my car the other day.

A parking lot with a diagonal parking pattern ...Image via Wikipedia

Parking lots, I have found, are among the best places to practice echolocation for a few reasons: the layout is always different (cars parked in different spots), there are generally not a lot of other distracting objects around, and cars are relatively easy to pick up. As I mentioned in a previous post, cars (or metal objects, I guess) do have a very distinct sound to them. It's got to do with the resonance of the metallic body. I will have to look into that further.

But yes, if you're going to practice echolocation, get used to crashing into things. Perhaps I should have said that before.. I crashed into my car the other day, but I guess it's good that is was my car.

I'm finding that depth perception is different when I use the "Blade Pop" (see here) compared to the "Giddyup". It seems that objects sound closer than they actually are when I use the Blade Pop. I've walked up to a wall thinking that I was about 6 inches away when I was actually a few feet away. I guess this is a good thing because I think it means that there will be better resolution. IE.: If I'm getting a lot of response from something that is 3 feet away (maybe the same response I would get at 6 inches with another click) then I can anticipate obstacles better.

Also, this would imply that objects that are very close would be very obvious. This seems not to be the case quite yet, at least for me. It seems that there is a big difference when an obstacle is approaching 3 feet, but that there is not a lot of difference within those last 3 feet. I guess it just takes practice.

I just got up and did a quick test and I'm starting to think that maybe a click can be too loud to sense objects that are close up. I walked up to a wall using the blade pop, but then softened it to a barely audible sound, not even a click, and found that it was much easier to judge the very close wall with much greater accuracy. Probably to within an inch instead of feet. I'll have to explore this some more.

As always, feel free to share your input.
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Free 10-Minute Audio Lesson: Learn the Echolocation Click

Learn echolocation clicks with a free audio lesson
Learning how to click is one of the first steps to becoming an effective echoloator. This lesson provides clicking samples of a variety of different clicks and descriptions of when they might be most useful. This lesson has been used by O&M instructors all over the world.

Despite popular belief, it's easy to make your clicking quite subtle or unnoticeable even in quiet settings. There are many different clicks for different situations. I explain all of these in great detail and give examples of where, why and when they can and should be used.

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