Human Sonar – Echolocation

Posted on December 3, 2006  Comments (1)

The Mystery of Sonar Boy:

Ben Underwood’s echolocation isn’t a hoax, but it’s not an unexplained mystery, either. Ben really can sense nearby objects with reflected sound waves. But so can you.

Go ahead and try out the skill you never knew you had. First, close your eyes and put on a blindfold, and then ask a friend to move a frying pan forward and backward in front of your face. Now start making noises—any noises you want. You can click your tongue like Sonar Boy, or you can whistle, or you can sing a scale. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to tell when the pan is close to you and when it’s not.

Also see, two interesting videos, CBS story and an Ellen show appearance. And read a 2003 BBC article on how the Blind ‘see with sound’.

Related: Artificial CorneasSeeing Machine from MIT

One Response to “Human Sonar – Echolocation”

  1. Tim
    October 1st, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

    This is pretty cool stuff, I’m a seeing person and am trying to teach myself how to use echolocation more effectively. Just in case..
    I think the fact that we have this ability has profound implications on the evolution of our kind. What else don’t we know about?
    I’ve got a blog of my trial and error, and if anyone is looking to help me out or wants to learn from my trials, feel free to check it out: http://learnecholocation.blogspot.com

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