August 11, 2006
When in the Bat Cave...
Posted by scott at August 11, 2006 01:05 PM
... do like the bats do:
Fourteen-year-old Ben Underwood of Sacramento, Calif., is one of the few people known to use echolocation as a primary means of navigating the world on land. There's not even a hint of light reaching his brain. His eyes are artificial, but his brain has adapted to allow him to appraise his environment. He makes a "clicking" sound to communicate with objects and people around him.
Turns out it's a pretty low-resolution way for people to learn about their surroundings, but like I always say, "if it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid."
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Actually, you might want to get your facts straight. Ben is not one of the few people who uses echolocation to get around. There are several hundred thousand blind people in this nation, most of whom use canes, and in essence use echolocation. They just don't make fools of themselves to acquire it by clicking their tongues, since they can pick it up easily by the sound their canes make on the ground. And most of all, they never thought it was AMAZING enough to exploit their abilities on national tv. Don't encourage this kid anymore, please. He's making blind people look bad with this technique, and the stereotypes are bad enough.
And by the way, echolocation only works with large stationary objects, so regardless of the way it "appears" on television, Ben can't pick up low lying objects, moving objects, people, moving cars, and most importantly stairs and drop-offs with echolocation. Which means if he ever wants to go anywhere unfamiliar, he'll still have to hold on to someone. And if you think that's independence, thing again...
did you read the article? How do we get our facts straight when all we do is link it.
I tell ya, some people have no idea how to navigate this place.