Researchers say humans can develop echolocation to “see” their surroundings.

HealthDay (7/8, Preidt) reported that, according to a study published in the current issue of the journal Acta Acustica united with Acustica, “humans can develop echolocation, a system of acoustic signals used by dolphins and bats to ‘see’ their surroundings.” In the study, researchers from Spain’s University of Alcala de Henares “analyzed the properties of various sounds and identified what they believe is the most effective sound for human echolocation,” the “palate click,” which is “made by placing the tip of the tongue on the palate, just behind the teeth, and moving it quickly backwards.” Currently, “a method to teach humans how to emit, receive and interpret echolocation sounds is being developed. The first step” of that process “is for a person to learn how to make and identify his or her own sounds, which are different for each individual. The next step is to learn how to use the sounds to distinguish between objects according to their geometrical properties.” The study authors said that “some blind people have taught themselves the ability through trial-and-error.”

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