What It Takes to Be an Expert Human Echolocator

DANIEL KISH SEES more than you might expect, for a blind man. Like many individuals deprived of sight, he relies on his non-visual senses to navigate the world. But people tend to find Kish’s abilities rather remarkable. Reason being: Kish can echolocate. Yes, like a bat.

As a child, Kish taught himself to generate sharp clicking noises with his mouth, and to translate the sound reflected by surrounding objects into spatial information. Perhaps you’ve seen videos like this one, in which Kish uses his skills to navigate a new environment, describe the shape of a car, identify the architectural features of a distant building—even ride a bike:

Impressive as his abilities are, Kish insists he isn’t special. “People who are blind have been using  echolocation to varying degrees of efficiency for a very long time,” he says.

Read more: What It Takes to Be an Expert Human Echolocator

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Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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What It Takes to Be an Expert Human Echolocator

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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