Human echolocation: the ability to detect surrounding obstacles by sensing echoes

Experiment shows that in as few as 10 weeks, humans can echolocate or detect surrounding obstacles by sensing echoes from those objects.  

The study involved sighted and legally blind participants, both young and old.  For 20 training sessions, which were about 2 to 3 hours long, the researchers taught the participants how to echolocate by making clicking sounds with their tongues.  They then interpreted the echoes that came back, reflected from the surrounding environment.  After the 10-week training, researchers found that all participants improved considerably at click-based echolocation.

While usually associated with animals like bats and whales, echolocation can also help blind humans detect obstacles and improve mobility, independence, and well-being.  It can also be helpful for people who may lose their eyesight later in life due to old age or diseases.  

What do you think of this skill training?  Let us know your thoughts.  

Leave a Comment