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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