Humans Are Being Taught to Echolocate Like Dolphins

and It’s Surprisingly Easy…

Scientists have successfully taught a small group of blind and sighted people how to navigate their surroundings using echolocation – the sonar-based language of dolphins and bats.

Using sound created by tongue clicks, the group learned how to detect the size of virtual rooms with surprising accuracy – something that researchers had not expected in people who were born with sight.

While blind people have proven successful at echolocation in the past, it’s been unclear if sighted people can develop the same ability, given their almost total dependence on visual perception.

“We thought, ‘If it’s sighted people, it’s not going to be something we’ve ever learned to do, so probably we’re really bad at it,'” one of the team, Virginia Flanagin from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, told Veronique Greenwood at The Atlantic.

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