British Blind 'Batboy' Uses Echoes to Visualise His Surroundings

by VR Sreeraman on  October 7, 2009 at 12:40 PM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
 British Blind 'Batboy' Uses Echoes to Visualise His Surroundings
A 7-year-old blind boy has been given the nickname Batboy, for he has learnt how to "see" by using his ears.

Lucas Murray, who was born blind, is believed to be the first in Britain to use echoes to visualise his surroundings.

He clicks his tongue on the roof of his mouth, and discovers where objects are based on how the sound bounces back.

The amazing technique allows him to run around his playground, play basketball, and even go rock climbing.

"I really like the clicking system but it was quite hard to learn," the Sun quoted him as saying.

"I love basketball. I can use my click to find out where the hoop is myself and throw the ball through," he explained.

The echolocation technique is similar to that used by bats and dolphins, and the little boy can work out how far away an object is by the time it takes the echo to return.

Its intensity tells him the object's size, and the position is determined through which ear the sound reaches first.

He can even work out movement through pitch - with the echo lower if the object is moving away and higher if it is getting closer.

The lad also uses a cane and has a great memory for places he has already "scanned" with his ears.

He was taught by blind Californian Daniel Kish, 41, who founded the World Access for the Blind charity.

Murray's parents Sarah and Iain, from Poole in Dorset, saw Daniel on TV and asked him to visit.

"Lucas learned echolocation in three intense days two years ago," Sarah, 33, said.

"Now he is so independent he hardly needs to ask for help any more than a normal seven-year-old would," she added.

Source: ANI

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