Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blind British boy sees with his ears

     A seven year old boy, who was born blind, can now see with his ears using a technique similar to that used by bats and dolphins.
     Lucas Murray, nicknamed bat boy, can see by clicking his tongue on the roof of his mouth. He can find out where and how far big objects are by listening to the echo that bounces back. This technique is similar to echolocation used by bats and dolphins, which measure height and distance of an object by the echo of the sound emitted by those objects.
     Lucas loves playing basketball and even goes rock climbing. “I love basket ball and it is much easier to play now that I can use my click to find out where the hoop is. It was quite hard to learn what the echoes meant at first, but now I find it a lot easier.” Lucas was told.
     The technique was pioneered 41 year old Daniel Kish of California, who himself is blind. He spent three days working with Lucas and his family two years ago. “While Daniel taught Lucas echolocation and cane skills, he taught us that the most important lesson as parents is to let him do it himself. Lucas picked up the clicking quite quickly and very soon we could tell it was having a real impact on his life.” Sarah Murray was told.
     “When people see him walking or running around and hear that he is blind, they are just blown away,” his mother said.
     What more, Lucas can even estimate the size of an object by the intensity of the echo. According to him, a smaller object would reflect only less of the sound wave.