Disability Pride Month Tidbit: Human Echolocation
Echolocation – is Personal Assistive Tech built in! Bats use it. Blind use it. Maybe you could too. Echolocation is the use of sound waves and echoes to determine where objects are in space. Bats use echolocation to navigate and find food in the dark. But did you know that people can use it too?
Human echolocation is the ability of humans to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes from those objects, by actively creating sounds: for example, by tapping canes, lightly stomping a foot, snapping fingers, or making clicking noises … people trained to orient by echolocation can interpret the sound waves reflected by nearby objects, accurately identifying their location and size. Both passive and active echolocation help blind individuals learn about their environments.
As previously mentioned, sighted individuals can develop the ability to echolocate; however, they do not show comparable activation in visual cortex. It suggests that sighted individuals use areas beyond visual cortex for echolocation, in the event they do “get it.” So take up a challenge from your friends who are blind and our flying mammal friends, the Bats, and learn how to navigate without your use of sight. Check out this video for more information:
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Last Updated October 4, 2019