Saturday, June 22, 2013

Seeing without Eyes

Daniel Kish has been blind for as long as he can remember. From birth he had a vicious form of eye cancer, which led to the removal of both eyes by the age of thirteen months. They're now replaced with prosthetics. He has no memory of having any form of sight, yet he can navigate his surroundings with an astoundingly agile competence. How? The same way as bats: Echolocation.


By clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth in a specific way, Kish makes sounds that are sharp enough to produce vibrations that bounce off of the objects around him. Using this method he can identify what his surroundings are, their distance, and their size sufficiently; this ability allows him to live like any other person and participate in even activities that most would assume would require full eyesight, such as riding his bike. 

Kish maintains that Echolocation can offer a liberated lifestyle like his own to other visually impaired people, if only it was commonly taught. This unconventional method is opposed by a majority of the blind community as too difficult to learn. Kish, however, subconsciously started using it by the age of two years old and believes that therefore the human brain is wired to allow use of echolocation, but it's a sense of "sight" that becomes dulled by dependence on the eyes; this portion of the brain's sense could be stimulated by practicing echolocation, and by studying it further a convenient teaching method could be designed.
Although most blind organizations don't support and even oppose Kish's method, he runs his own non-profit organization that teaches echolocation to the visually impaired called World access for the blind


- Oddity Central


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