Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Echolocation: "A New Way of Seeing the World"

Science Daily on echolocation:
this would be a new way of perceiving the world

 I recently found an encouraging article published by Science Daily.  This article introduces the concept of echolocation to the masses, and presents it in such a way that reveals entirely new possibilities for the human race. In addition to the benefits that I've been describing here, they discussed the potential use for echolocation as a sort of natural "x-ray".

 The article discusses the capacity for anyone to be able to learn echolocation.  This skill is not something you're born with and it's not something that's outside the realm of possibility.  Like anything else, it just takes practice: special physical skills are required in order to develop this skill. “Two hours per day for a couple of weeks are enough to distinguish whether you have an object in front of you, and within another two weeks you can tell the difference between trees and a pavement”, Martínez tells SINC.
The scientist recommends trying with the typical “sh” sound used to make someone be quiet. Moving a pen in front of the mouth can be noticed straightaway. This is a similar phenomenon to that when travelling in a car with the windows down, which makes it possible to “hear” gaps in the verge of the road.
Echolocation could rival sight itself 

I love reading articles like this.  There is so much more to the human machine than we currently know.  This type of insight is sure to bring about a whole new perspective on life.  This is another quote from the article regarding the potential use of echolocation for seeing through softer materials to the harder materials behind.
Another of the team’s research areas involves establishing the biological limits of human echolocation ability, “and the first results indicate that detailed resolution using this method could even rival that of sight itself”. In fact, the researchers started out by being able to tell if there was someone standing in front of them, but now can detect certain internal structures, such as bones, and even “certain objects inside a bag”.

Hopefully this type of research will continue and we can begin to develop this skill in our youths to give them a better understanding of the world, a leg up on all those who simply rely on sight, and the confidence of being an extremely capable human.

Quote source:
Plataforma SINC (2009, July 6). Scientists Develop Echolocation In Humans To Aid The Blind. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 19, 2010, from

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Latest Echolocation Beacon Preference

sock puppet brandonImage by bschmove via Flickr
Realizing that learning echo location when it is not an everyday necessity can be a long and arduous process, I’d like to apologize for not having posted here for a while. I’m am still striving to understand this phenomenon and I’m currently working to refine my beacon.

The Problem with Echolocating using the Mouth Click
I’m finding that making a clicking noise with my mouth presents several issues that I would like to avoid. I’m attempting to adjust my beacon method to something a bit more amenable to echolocation and modern social situations. Below is a list of downfalls I’ve identified about the mouth click:
  1. It creates a sound source that is too close to my ears, making it harder to hear the echo over the source.
  2. Less socially acceptable – not that that will stop me, but in an effort to offer the best solution to the inquisitive general public, I’d prefer something a bit less socially intrusive.
  3. It denies you the use of your mouth for things like eating on-the-go, swallowing, talking, etc.
  4. The time in between clicks is dead space and does not provide any data. In order to increase the resolution the clicks must get closer together.
  5. Having the mouth open for long periods can cause dryness and discomfort.
  6. Not a preferable method in quiet places, like the library.
My Latest Echolocation Beacon Preference
What I’ve been using recently has proven to be very effective. I would even say more effective than the blade pop or any other click I have tried. It is also non-intrusive to my environment – meaning it does not startle others and is acceptable to use in a quiet setting. The one negative observation I would make about this technique is that it is much better for sensing objects up close (up to 5-7 feet away) rather than far away. Objects that are farther than 5-7 feet away will most likely be difficult to pick up with this technique.
  1. Place the thumb and forefingers together in traditional “sock puppet” position.
  2. Slowly rub the thumb in circles on the fingers to create a high pitched rubbing sound.
  3. To isolate the source from your ears turn your hand away from you so that the thumb and forefingers are on the opposite side of your hand. Your hand will act as a barrier and will direct the sound away from you and toward your target. Remember, you want to hear the echo just as well, if not better than the source.
As far as I can tell this method has a lot of advantages over the "blade popping" and other methods of clicking.  (See the properties of a good click signal)
    I guess another sticking point for this technique could be if your hands are not dry enough to create a sound when you rub your fingers together.

    Anyhow, give this a try and let me know what you think about it.

    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.

    Get your free lesson now:

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