Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Few Advantages of Echolocation over Vision

Vision is mode of perception unlike any other; it provides so much information to us and is the primary sensory input for most people.  Using vision we can interpret 3-dimensional space and color to a great level of detail.

However, there are some benefits that echolocation can offer; details that cannot be distinguished using our eyes.  These benefits are, most notably:  Texture, Density and Material.

With our eyes we can make assumptions about these things based on prior knowledge, but they do in fact require that prior knowledge in order to make that assumption.  Our assumption will be base on what the object is, the reflectivity of the surface which in turn indicates the smoothness or roughness of the surface, and the color differences.  As is the nature of vision, however, it is always subject to optical illusion.  Things may appear to be one thing, but then turn out, in reality to be something completely different.

With echolocation the texture of an object can be seen as it is a direct result of the sound waves diffusing upon hitting the surface.  Much the same as with light, if you shine a flashlight in a mirror, you get a big bright dot in your eye, whereas if you shine a flashlight at a carpet, it diffuses and looks very different.  Not as much light returns to your eye because a good percentage of the light is being redirected toward other directions.  Since we are only one observer and our eyes and ears can only be in one place at any given time with respect to a signal, the texture of an object becomes apparent when we notice that the response signal is "softer" than it would be as compared to a hard flat ("shiny") object.

This is just one example of how echolocation can lend us advantages over vision, aside from the myriad of profound implications it has on the human race as a whole.

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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