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HUMAN BRAIN HAS ITS OWN FORM OF 'BAT SIGHT'

Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart May 31, 2011 at 10:04 am

The part of the brain used by people who can “see like a bat” has been identified by researchers in Canada. Some blind people have learned to echolocate by making clicking noises and listening to the returning echoes.

A study of two such people, published in PLoS ONE, showed a part of the brain usually associated with sight was activated when listening to echoes.

Action for Blind People said further research could improve the way the technique is taught. Bats and dolphins bounce sound waves off their surroundings and by listening to the echoes can “see” the world around them.

Some blind humans have also trained themselves to do this, allowing them to explore cities, cycle and play sports.
The study looked at only two people so cannot say for certain what happens in the brains of all people who learn the technique, but the study concludes: “EB and LB use echolocation in a way that seems uncannily similar to vision.”
Full article at BBC
COMMENTS
May 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm
roz says:

at first i read this as “bat shit”, ROFL!


May 31, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I have been fascinated by this echolocation ability since seeing a documentary on Ben Underwood, a blind kid who learned to use it. Probably most of Derren’s fans will already have seen the great video of Derren with Daniel Kish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGMpswJtCdI
Amazing stuff! Daniel taught himself to echolocate at a young age. He gets around on a bicycle and even leads his blind students on mountain bike rides!

This ability would offer blind people the opportunity for more independence and autonomy, even without the use of bionic enhancements or cross-sensory implants (which are also fascinating and worthy of further development in their own right).


May 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm
spiderabc1 says:

I remember Derren did some cool stuff with a partially sighted/blind man. Anyone ideas on where I can find it? Feel I’m missing a dvd. Thanks.


June 10, 2011 at 10:22 am
Dave says:

The brain is amazingly labile in the visual pathways. There are now quite a few blind people out there navigating via head-mounted cameras connected to arrays of electrodes on their tongues, who rapidly come to actually see (albeit crudely and with low resolution) this way. Similar results have been obtained with arrays of pins (not sharp) strapped against the skin on the back – even though the concentration of pressure sensors here is relatively low, it’s good enough to navigate by.


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