Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Daniel Kish, Ben Underwood are Batman / Daredevil

Some totally blind people learnt to use echolocation to "see" and navigate like a  Bat or Dolphins or a Submarine.

True comic book geeks would know that Daredevil is the comic book superhero who should be mentioned here and not Batman.

Watch a video about why Daredevil should be called Batman, and Ghost Rider should be called Daredevil.

These are a few people who can do this.

  • Daniel Kish - the echolocation teacher
  • Ben Underwood
  • Dr. Lawrence Scadden
  • Lucas Murray
  • Juan Ruiz
  • Tom De Witte - Batman from Belgium
  • Kevin Warwick - not blind, but cyborg batman

This following video is a documentary about Ben Underwood, whose eyes were removed at 2 years of age due to eye cancer(retinoblastoma). He later passed away at age 16 due to metstasized cancer.


Daniel Kish
Echolocation has been further developed by Daniel Kish, who works with the blind, leading blind teenagers hiking and mountain-biking through the wilderness and teaching them how to navigate new locations safely, with a technique that he calls "FlashSonar", through the non-profit organization World Access for the Blind. Kish had his eyes removed at the age of 13 months due to retinal cancer. He learned to make palatal clicks with his tongue when he was still a child—and now trains other blind people in the use of echolocation and in what he calls "Perceptual Mobility". Though at first resistant to using a cane for mobility, seeing it as a "handicapped" device, and considering himself "not handicapped at all", Kish developed a technique using his white cane combined with echolocation to further expand his mobility.

Kish reports that "The sense of imagery is very rich for an experienced user. One can get a sense of beauty or starkness or whatever - from sound as well as echo". He is able to distinguish a metal fence from a wooden one by the information returned by the echoes on the arrangement of the fence structures; in extremely quiet conditions, he can also hear the warmer and duller quality of the echoes from wood compared to metal.

Ben Underwood
Diagnosed with retinal cancer at the age of two, American Ben Underwood had his eyes removed at the age of three.

He taught himself echolocation at the age of five. He was able to detect the location of objects by making frequent clicking noises with his tongue. This case was explained in 20/20: Medical Mysteries. He used it to accomplish such feats as running, playing basketball, riding a bicycle, rollerblading, playing football, and skateboarding. Underwood's childhood eye doctor claimed that Underwood was one of the most proficient human echolocators.

Underwood died on January 19, 2009 at the age of 16, from the same cancer that took his vision.

The Polish film director Andrzej Jakimowski met Ben and was inspired by him. In 2012, he released the film "Imagine" about Ian, a spatial orientation instructor, who arrives at a world-renowned Lisbon clinic for the visually impaired to work with blind patients. The doctor in charge of the clinic hires Ian, on condition that the patients won’t be exposed to danger as they learn to move around by themselves using the echolocation methods he teaches.


Just another point to note. These people are NOT using Blindsight. That is a different phenomenon in which people who have normal eyes, but damaged vision processing areas in their brain, can see on a subconscious level - even though they don't realize that they can. They are legally blind.

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