Friday, June 21, 2013

Echolocation to Assist the Blind in Developing Nations

While children’s access to nutrition and medicine are a large concern in the west like North American and Europe as well as well-to-do nations like Japan and Singapore, things are a bit different in less privileged countries like those found in South America, Africa and undeveloped nations in Asia. In these places nutrition and medicine are something that people can only hope for and can never get in abundant amounts like they do in developed nations. It is because of this fact that there are a large number of children in third-world countries that have many birth defects because of deficit nutrition which of course includes blindness.

And to make matters worse, parents in third-world countries respond poorly to the situation and often have the mentality that blind children are “hopeless” and can never become upstanding citizens and lead normal lives because of their condition. This goes on to lead parents to neglect their blind children in favor of their more “normal” children and while there are indeed individuals and organizations who make it possible to give these underprivileged children the chance at normal lives, the common masses often have little access to these facilities and often don’t even know about them unless approached directly by health and social workers.

Perhaps one of the more important issues to consider when helping underprivileged blind children is the government’s stance on the matter. More often than not, without the government’s blessing or intervention, little is actually done for the less fortunate populace in most third-world countries.

How can Echolocation Help?

Unlike most mobility practices, like guide dog usage and modern accessibility technologies, echolocation does not require any physical resources.  The implications here are of course that anyone can do it if they have the proper training.  Hiring trainers can also be very difficult as funding is often scarce, and travel expenses for a short training session can be quite high.

However, getting over that initial misunderstanding and apprehension of the skill of echolocation is often the biggest step to learning echolocation.  The Beginner's Guide to Echolocation is the first, and currently the only book of its kind to specifically provide enlightening echolocation lessons to the blind community making it accessible for even the most remote of practitioners.

I strongly believe that this skill can change the world we live in.  I am also offering this book at a much lower price for qualifying organizations.  Please contact me for further details on how you can make this book, this knowledge, this skill, and this new independence for the blind available in your remote community.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Echolocation and the Evolution of Mankind

Since the dawn of time man kind has been struggling to survive on a planet covered in species stronger and faster than ourselves.  Very few of our traits stack up again our predators save for our brains and the way we use them.  Firstly the ability to think, reason and strategize, and additionally, to be forward thinking enough to know which skills and capabilities we should nurture to allow ourselves to thrive.  I strongly believe that echolocation is one of these skills - something that addresses an acute need and will give us the ability to overcome obstacles and increase our independence and strength as individuals and as a species.

Recently there has been much in the news about echolocation.  Daniel Kish and his team at World Access for the Blind have been making marvelous strides to improve awareness of the skill and train hundreds, maybe thousands of visually impaired persons on the benefits and fundamentals of echolocation.  Research has been undertaken recently which proves the viability of the practice of human echolocation.
Every generation learns from the previous generation aiming to improve itself beyond what the previous generation was capable of.  Nurturing the skill of echolocation now will provide the next visually impaired generation with a tool that integrates seamlessly into existing mobility practice and a level of perception that far exceeds anything that the previous generation thought possible.

In a world where so many good things are on the decline, the notion that each and every one of us has the ability to advance humanity and contribute to the betterment of mankind is empowering.  It gives me hope that our species will make good choices in the future and never lose sight of the fundamental benefits of consistent self improvement.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Using Echolocation in a Foreign Environment

A recent survey published by Durham University in the UK indicated that visually impaired persons are far less likely to use echolocation in a foreign environment due to the difficulty it presents. Let's take a look at how someone might approach using echolocation for the first time in a foreign environment.

Start With a Wide Perspective

At this point you should be comfortable with the beginner and many of the intermediate exercises. To get a broad sense of where you are you can tap your cane, stomp your foot, clap your hands, click your tongue, or make a variety of other noises. This will give you a sense of whether you're outdoors or indoors. If you're indoors it will also give you an approximate size of the room and tell you if the room is carpeted, furnished or empty. If you're outdoors it will tell you if you're in a field or parking lot or a grove of trees.

Find a Reference Object

Next, still using this simple sounds listed above, try to get a sense of large nearby objects such as walls, cars and trees. We can explore that object more later and learn about what exactly it is, but for now we will simply keep track of it and use it as a reference point.

Scan for Other Objects and General Envirnoment Shape

Now, using your favorite tongue click, slowly scan the rest of the space around you. Try to determine a distance to the nearest object in all directions. Pay close attention to flat objects as they may represent pieces of larger contoured or angled objects that are less visible. If you see four flat objects at right angles from one another, you are very likely in a square or rectangular room and can orient yourself using these four directions.

Find Hallways and Open Doors

Also be aware of echoic directions that seem to resonate far in the distance and taper off quickly on either side. These generally represent hallways. Open doorways can usually be identified as a "hollow spot", or a "hole" that provides very little response. At this point you should be able to easily identify groves of trees and other foliage, which will tell you if you are at the edge of a field yard or path. Listen for any glass surfaces which could help identify windows and glass doors from the outside of a building. You can also identify doors and store fronts by looking up slightly for awnings.

In essence, no matter where you are, the process will be similar. I'm sure you will find your own specific ways of implementing the scanning process, but essentially, you will want to start wide and narrow your focus toward objects of interest and eventually find walls to track along. Eventually, with practice your need to thoroughly scan the whole room will decrease and your "peripheral" echolocation "vision" will improve allowing you to see objects in many directions all at once.

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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