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Echolocation is widely spread in the animal kingdom; and some individuals among the blind people also have the ability to localize objects and perceive the geometric enviroment, hearing reflected sounds [link]. The tick noise of the white cane hitting the floor helps blind people to orientate acoustically
I propose a small device mounted at the bridge of glasses; comprising a piezoelectric speaker that user can activate with a small remote control. As the remote control button is pressed, the speaker emit a chirp sound in the upper audible frequency range. The remote control could be built inside the white cane, for blind people that use it everyday.
The chirp sound could be recorded from bats, taking advantage of their evolutive process, lowering the frequency entire spectrum, making the sound suitable for human ears.
A training period will be required, and eventually, we can learn to walk in darkness (without hurting ourselves) pressing the button and turning slight the head to localize obstacles. The control of the chirp emission synched with little head movements will be the keys of this echolocation technique.
[piluso, Dec 20 2012]
||Baked, but probably not widely known to exist.
||Masters of certain martial arts practice echolocation, or at
least claim to do so. Krav Maga masters, on the other
hand, don't bother with sound and just learn to sense
movement and swift changes in air pressure, no add'on
hardware required. Still a decent idea, which is why there
are people working on it. I read about a prototype
echolocation hearing aid (for the blind) in PopSci about
three years ago.
||What [Bunsen] said. Not a new idea.