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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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