Daniel Kish who has been sightless since he was a year old. Yet he can mountain bike. And navigate the wilderness alone. And recognize a building as far away as 1,000 feet. How? The same way bats can see in the dark.
Kish was born with an aggressive form of cancer called retinoblastoma, which attacks the retinas. To save his life, both of his eyes were removed by the time he was 13 months old. Since his infancy – Kish is now 44 – he has been adapting to his blindness in such remarkable ways that some people have wondered if he’s playing a grand practical joke. But Kish is completely blind.
Kish learned echolocation and trained himself in such a precised manner that he can hear the slight echoes and interpret their meaning. Daniel Kish use echolocation just like Bats and Beluga whales do. He is so accomplished at echolocation that he’s able to pedal his mountain bike through streets heavy with traffic and on precipitous dirt trails. He climbs trees. He camps out, by himself, deep in the wilderness. He’s lived for weeks at a time in a tiny cabin a two-mile hike from the nearest road. He travels around the globe. He’s a skilled cook, an avid swimmer, a fluid dance partner.
Kish has given a name to what he does – he calls it “FlashSonar” – but it’s more commonly known by its scientific term, echolocation.
Kish’s work has inspired a number of scientific studies related to human echolocation. In a 2009 study at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, ten sighted subjects were taught basic navigation skills within a few days. The study aimed to analyze various sounds which can be used to echo-locate and evaluate which were most effective. In another study, MRI brain scans were taken of Kish and another echolocation expert to identify the parts of the brain involved in echolocation, with readings suggesting “that brain structures that process visual information in sighted people process echo information in blind echolocation experts.”
Like Our Facebook Page To Receive Updates.