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You Too Can Learn Echolocation

pickens (49171) writes | more than 5 years ago

Medicine 0

The Narrative Fallacy writes "Wired reports that with just a few weeks of training, you can learn to "see" objects in the dark using echolocation the same way dolphins and bats do. Acoustic expert Juan Antonio Martinez at the University of Alcalá de Henares in Spain has developed a system to teach people how to use echolocation, a skill that could be particularly useful for the blind and for people who work under dark or smoky conditions, like firefighters — or cat burglars. "Two hours per day for a couple of weeks are enough to distinguish whether you have an object in front of you," says Martinez. "Within another couple weeks you can tell the difference between trees and pavement." To master the art of echolocation, you can begin by making the typical "sh" sound used to make someone be quiet. Moving a pen in front of the mouth can be noticed right away similar to the phenomenon when traveling in a car with the windows down, which makes it possible to "hear" gaps in the verge of the road. The next level is to learn how to master "palate clicks," special clicks with your tongue and palate that are better than other sounds because they can be made in a uniform way, work at a lower intensity, and don't get drowned out by ambient noise. With the palate click you can learn to recognize slight changes in the way the clicks sound depending on what objects are nearby. "For all of us in general, this would be a new way of perceiving the world," says Martinez."

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