Echolocation Training Kit
Posted by chien_fu on 5/3/2012 at 11:24 AM
Hello all, I'm currently compiling a course that will teach echolocation as a method of navigation for the blind. "Echolocation" is a technique that anyone can learn (seeing or blind) that allows you to identify objects and obstacles based on the way they reflect certain sounds. Blind people have been known to use this technique for centuries and have been successful with very independent navigation and a detailed awareness of their surroundings - far beyond what a cane can offer.
Please let me know if this is something you are interested in and what you would like me to include in the kit. I really want this to be something that will benefit thousands of people worldwide. Have you tried echolocation and failed? Tell me what the most difficult part was. Why does it work or not work for you?
With your help, I can make this course super helpful! Thanks for your input!
You can find out more about my plans for this kit here:
There are currently 3 replies
Re: Echolocation Training KitPosted by Word-Smith on 5/9/2012 at 1:11 PM
Padding to protect a person walking down a city street who is totally blind, and using no cane. Otherwise, falling off curbs, running into people and running into poles is going to cause a lot of bruising, broken teeth and twisted ankles. You must be able to see to suggest such a kit. Perhaps you want to blindfold yourself and have folks witness you walking down, say, fifth avenue using your technique. With online videos, you can show us blind folks how it is done before we risk our own personal safety in such a thing.
Re: Echolocation Training KitPosted by Word-Smith on 5/9/2012 at 2:00 PM
Let me add a bit to my previous feedback. Blind people know it is possible to "hear" a wall, which is an example or your echo location technique. However, I have never ever heard of anybody who can "hear" a curb, a manhole opening, or use echo location to navigate down a crowded city sidewalk. A person with a white cane and good mobility training can detect subway entrances and stairs and curbs and can cross streets. I suggest crossing streets with traffic using echo location is foollish. Please understand that only when you have experienced being blind can you actually design good mobility techniques. That is why mobility instructors are routinely blindfolded and made to use a cane or a dog to navigate city traffic. If you really believe in your technique, please try it out blindfolded under real world conditions. You may think walking down a hall is a good "real world" condition. I suggest walking down a crowded sidewalk and crossing streets in a major city is a better example of the kind of "real world condition" where a cane or a dog works for people with no vision and echo location does not.
Re: Echolocation Training KitPosted by chien_fu on 7/5/2012 at 8:35 AM
Sorry I didn't see your comments before now. Admittedly, I am sighted, but I have made many new friends during my endeavor to learn echolocation, among whom are completely blind people who are completely independent and free to go hiking, mountain biking, play basketball, walk down crowded streets and quickly orient themselves in entirely new and foreign environments.
I am a teacher of martial arts and thus, bio-mechanics, human perception and psychology. I teach people how to understand their own capabilities and then how to expand those capabilities into something beyond anything they ever thought possible. I'm no stranger to skepticism.
While I cannot claim to truly understand what it is like to be blind, I can do my best to learn what I can and share what I have learned. I would not suggest that you throw away your cane and jump onto 5th avenue. I have nothing against the cane and know a lot of expert echolocators that still use the cane as a supplement. You have to understand your environment and maintain a level of safety from hazards. You know yourself best, and I encourage learning at one's own pace. Please don't think I am intentionally being inconsiderate of anyone's condition.
If you have never heard of anyone being able to "see" a curb or a manhole opening using echolocation, then you have probably not heard of my friend Daniel Kish, founder of World Access for the Blind. Or another inspirational man, Ben Underwood who was able to determine the difference between a stapler and coffee mug on a table using only echolocation. Unfortunately Ben passed away from cancer at the age of 17, but his story continues to inspire me to spread the word about echolocation. He was able to follow a paved sidewalk by listening to the difference between the grass and pavement.
Everyday I am amazed to wake up to the incredible world we live in with it's infinite possibilities and amazing wonders. All I aim to do is spread the word of echolocation and encourage open-minded people to explore it at their own pace.
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