Daniel Kish: How I use sonar to navigate the world
Daniel Kish has been blind since he was 13 months old but has learned to “see” using a form of echolocation. He clicks his tongue and sends out flashes of sound that bounce off surfaces in the environment and return to him, helping him to construct an understanding of the space around him. In a rousing talk, Kish demonstrates how this works and asks us to let go of our fear of the “dark unknown.” TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment, and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts, and much more.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Daniel Kish (born 1966 in Montebello, California) is an American expert in human echolocation and the President of World Access for the Blind (WAFTB), a California-registered nonprofit organization founded by Kish in 2000 to facilitate “the self-directed achievement of people with all forms of blindness” and increase public awareness about their strengths and capabilities. Kish and his organization have taught a form of echolocation to at least 500 blind children around the world.
Kish, who had to have his eyes removed before he was 13 months old because of eye cancer, is the first totally blind person to be a legally Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and to hold a National Blindness Professional Certification (NOMC). He also holds master’s degrees in developmental psychology and special education from University of California Riverside.
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, Spain, ten sighted subjects were taught basic navigation skills within a few days. The study aimed to analyze various sounds which can be used to echolocate 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.”
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