Academic Science and Research

The exotic sensory capabilities of humans

The Psychologist - December, 2012
Lawrence D. Rosenblum & Michael S. Gordon

Discusses our work in a scholarly look beyond the traditional five senses, to echolocation and more.

Echolocation may have real-life advantages for blind people: an analysis of survey data

Frontiers in Integrative Physiology - May 8, 2013
By Lore Thaler, Ph.D., Durham University
Edited by Cynthia Moss, Ph.D., University of Baltimore Maryland,
Auditory neuroethology lab,

"To date there are no statistics available about how many blind people use echolocation, but anecdotal reports in the literature suggest that perhaps between 20 and 30% of totally blind people may use it, suggesting that echolocation affords broad functional benefits. ... previous research conducted under controlled experimental conditions has shown that echolocation improves blind people's spatial sensing ability. The current study investigated if there is also evidence for functional benefits of echolocation in real life. ... analyses of survey data revealed that, ... people who use echolocation have higher salary, and higher mobility in unfamiliar places, than people who do not use echolocation. ... all participants who reported to echolocate, also reported to use the long cane. This suggests that the benefit of echolocation that we found might be conditional upon the long cane being used as well. ... The data ... are consistent with the idea that echolocation offers real-life advantages for blind people, and that echolocation may be involved in peoples' successful adaptation to vision loss." "I thank Daniel Kish ... for testing the accessibility of the survey, and for input regarding survey questions. ... I thank Gordon Dutton ... for commenting on a previous version of this manuscript. Most of all, I thank the participants who took part in the survey."

Understanding The Nature Of Sensory Integration: Practical Approaches with Diverse Populations

Edited by Susanne Smith Roley, et al - 2001

This best selling compendium includes chapters by leading researchers in sensory integration (SI) based on the theory and research by Dr A Jean Ayres, together with clinical application of SI principles in treatment with diverse populations and case studies. An excellent introduction to SI theory and practice. includes reference to our work in the definition and general discussion of disability.

Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture

MIT Press © - 2007
By Professor Emeritus Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, Ph.D.

This book investigates the impact of aural architecture on our relationship with the world, with inclusion of a scholarly discussion of our work.

Physical analysis of several organic signals for human echolocation

Acta Acustica united with Acustica - 2008, 2010, ...
By Prof. Juan Antonio Mart´inez Rojas et al, Universidad de Alcal´a, Escuela Polit´ecnica Superior

Scholarly investigations of the comparative effectiveness of various human produced echo signals, with reference to our work.

Getting around by sound: Human echolocation

Neuroanthropology: Diverse Perspectives on Science and Medicine - June, 2011
By Prof. Greg Downey | Macquarie University, Sydney

This is one of the most well considered, researched, and erudite articles about human echolocation, featuring our work and research around it. Takes a refreshing and penetrating anthropological view.

"Human echolocation is a capacity of any human being, but the extraordinary skill shown by exemplary practitioners like Daniel Kish and Ben Underwood requires much more than just a human nervous system and the right training: the skill requires a community that ‘gets it’ and supports the capacity."

"In summary, echolocation isn’t just the conjunction of a human brain, mouth, ears and objects to reflect back sound; it’s also the product of a social group and society that has its own attitudes and approaches to dealing with blindness. At the same time that people like Kish are helping to spread techniques like echolocation to an unprecedented number of individuals, we can see that other social forces might decrease the possibility of achieving this perceptual skill."

Modern Examinations of Echo Acuity in Blind Humans

Whitney Laboratory for Perception and Action, University of California, Berkeley

This is a series of modern studies in which World Access for the Blind consulted which examine various aspects of the acuity and resolution of echolocation in over a dozen blind humans. Many of our Perceptual Mobility Coaches and students participated.

Sonic Echolocation: A Modern Review and Synthesis of the Literature

Daniel Kish - 2003

This scholarly monograph presents an exhaustive review of the literature on human echolocation. These findings are discussed with relevance to the design of a systematic echolocation training program. The positive impact of echolocation on blind travel is thoroughly documented.

Acoustic Navigation in Premature, Blind Children Steve Charles, MD - 2004 Charles Retina Institute

In an exclusive to our web site, Dr. Charles, world renowned vitreoretinal surgeon and engineer, documents his observations of young infants spontaneously producing oral signals for the apparent purpose of gaining navigational information.

The Sounds of Silence (excerpts)

from See What I'm Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses - 2010
By prof. Lawrence Rosenblum, University of California Riverside,

The work of World Access for the Blind is showcased in this first Chapter which presents an in depth discussion of the power and refinement of human echolocation, and it's application for everyone, sighted and blind. This chapter has also been featured in multiple articles and reviews.

Echolocation and Consciousness

Toward a Science of Consciousness - April, 2012

Along with Daniel Kish presenting with Lore Thaler and Cynthia Moss, this conference included such illustrious speakers as Deepak Chopra and David Rosenthal, and showcased a wide range of research from a wide range of disciplines.

Traveling by Touch: How Useful Are Tactile Maps?

Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness - May2009
By Erin, Jane N.

"An interview with professionals in the field of visual impairment and blindness and are also blind is presented. Included are Eric Guillory, Daniel Kish, Mark Nelson, and Sandy Ruconich. They reveal that they had used tactile maps for specific purposes ... They are also unanimous in the belief that map skills were important to teach children with visual impairments ... they mention different preferences for tactile maps."

The Recording That Never Wanted to Be Heard and Other Stories of Sonification

Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies - Dec 2011-date: Nov 2012
Jonathan Sterne and Mitchell Akiyama

This article investigates a cluster of practices called "sonification," or the transformation of nonsonic data into audible sound. It reviews a range of practices of sonification, including echolocation - all of which move data and experience between the sonic and nonsonic registers. This study advances three nested methodological propositions - attending to the modularity of sensory technologies; modularity of the relations between senses, subjects, and technologies; and modularity of the senses themselves.

"Daniel Kish, the most notable proponent of human echolocation, lost his sight in his infancy but has gradually learned how to negotiate the world acoustically ... By emitting vocal clicks, Kish manages to negotiate the world with a grace that is incomprehensible to sighted people. Even more astonishing, he is able and has taught others to ride bicycles. He is also able to sense and describe objects around him in detail; with training and practice echolocation is not only able to reveal the presence and placement of objects but can also help a listener to discern size, texture, and density."

Brain Scan Studies and Perspectives in Neural Science

Includes articles about how the brain processes advanced echolocation. General findings illustrate the primary role of the visual cortex in echo perception and construction of mental images. Includes several papers co-authored by Daniel Kish.

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