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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Flashlight for blind people.

I was watching an incredibly interesting documentary about a blind man who would make a clicking noise and listen to it bounce of objects, thus being about to hear with echolocation.

It took him a long time to learn to do that.

So at first he was like the normal blind people.

In the documentary they showed him swimming with dolphins, which also use echolocation to "see".

My question is, could someone make a "flashlight" that emits sounds to help blind people see. The man in the video clicked with his mouth, but how optimal is that? The "flashlight" would have different settings, and would be tweaked to give the best performance, and the rate between sounds could be adjusted as well. It would be a lot like a walking stick, but useful in a different way. Thoughts?

Changing the pitch and volume, as well as possibly being able to emit very focused sound or more widespread sound. - Those seems useful. I'm sure if people made this, and studied how best to decipher the sounds, and use the "flashlight", making it a science/art form, it could become useful.

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Re:Flashlight for blind people.

That particular person is a special case, and the show severely editted what had actually happened. He still needs a cane to travel, and in fact actually does not normally travel without a cane.

The main issue with using echolocation is that it is too hard to cover a sufficient area. you can hear walls and doors, but you can't hear a single step down, which would lead to trips and stumbles.

Such a device actually does exist, incidentally. Rather than the person listening, though, the device uses vibrations to tell how far away an object is. It is called the Mowat Sensor, and uses ultra-sonics. It is no longer produced, however.

Re:Flashlight for blind people.

attempting to use 'echolocation' is several things, but first and foremost, it's stupid. while some blind people may be much more aware of the way sounds interact with the environment, it doesn't paint the whole picture, or to continue with the flashlight anaology, it doesn't illuminate enough to move safely. It is at best inexact.

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