Blind superhero Daredevil could identify his surroundings by listening to sounds as they bounced off objects. Now a blind boy in Britain has learned to use echolocation himself, a technique that can be taught to others.
Seven-year old Lucas Murray has learned to "see" objects around him by clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth and listening to the sounds that come back to him. Although he may not get the full Daredevil effect, he can identify the distance, shape, density and position of objects around him, as well as whether an object or person is coming or going. Being able to identify objects in this way is a great boon to his independence, and he can navigate a room or a playground — and even shoot a basketball into a hoop unaided.
Although Murray is reportedly the first person in the UK to use this technique (earning him the nickname "Batboy" in the press), it's not something he learned on his own. Daniel Kish, founder of the World Access for the Blind, has been developing the technique and taught it to Murray, and other children have successfully learned the method as well.