Daniel Kish has what most of us would consider a ‘super power’ in that he uses Echolocation or sound reflection to perceive the world around him.
Kish lost his eyesight at just 13-months old due to cancer. But encouraged by his parents to enjoy life as any other child, he developed a remarkable new way to interact with the world.
He did this through ‘echo locating’ – much like many species (not all) of bats use sonar navigation. Dolphins are another species which use Echolocation.
More specifically, by making clicking sounds, Daniel was eventually able to navigate the world with confidence.
“They (his parents) believed I should grow up to enjoy the same freedom and responsibilities as everyone else,” he said during a TED presentation.
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Such has been Daniel’s mastery of this skill that today he can trust his ears enough to ride a bicycle. He can even draw a 3D diagram to describe the world around him, based on the sound messages he picks up.
Educating about echolocation
Daniel is also teaching his remarkable echolocation ability to fellow blind people all over the globe.
According to an interview with Daniel, the ability to use Echolocation comes naturally for those who can’t see.
Sounds such as clicking, clapping, whistling or stamping are a natural way for a child without sight to try and figure out what’s going on around them.
But often parents or teachers don’t understand this and discourage such gestures as being noisy or annoying.
Now as an adult, Daniel’s biggest challenge is to change perceptions.
“Its impressions about blindness which are far more threatening to blind people than the blindness itself,” he said.
“The terror is incomprehensible to most of us, because blindness is thought to epitomize ignorance and unawareness.”
A lack of funding and a lack of awareness in blind people about the possibilities of Echolocation to change their lives are other problems he’s tackling.
To find out more about Daniel’s work, please visit the Visioneers website.
IMAGE CREDIT: PopTech