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The-Biomatrix

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PostSubject: Echolocation   Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:10 am

Anyone heard of this? It's the idea of developing and fine tuning your hearing to the point where you can judge the dimensions of a room and the objects in it just by clicking and listening to the reverberations. Several blind people have accomplished this - I think Ben Underwood and Daniel Kisch are two of the well known ones and they can play football and things blind. As you know blind people have a better sense of hearing due to brain plasticity and compensation.

However recent studies have shown that sighted individuals can learn it quite easily too with training. I'm going to give it a go myself and then write an article on the results, I'll let you know how I get on here too. So far after one day of training I can notice when there's something right in front of me compared to nothing (only using this as a baseline) and I can see how it *could* be done :-D I doubt I'll ever be the next Daredevil though...
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E0N (Inactive)

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:11 am

The most realistic way you could do something like echolocation that I've come across is still pretty wierd and unnecessary. (IMO)

There's a such thing as "sensory substitution" technologies (i.e. "vibrotactile sensory bands"), that involves stuff like IR sensors so blind people can get around without bumping into walls.

Anyway -- what recent studies have shown sighted people can learn echolocation easily?

And -- what do you feel is the advantage of going "click click" when you could instead turn your head quickly 45 degrees and get more info in a simpler way? I mean if you do have eyes... well, you have eyes.

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Last edited by E0N on Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:15 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correct my no speak engrishi)
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E0N (Inactive)

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:13 am

I used to be really fascinated with that belt thing, though... wanted to set up a chest band as a potential aid in close combat situations where you might be surrounded.

Anyway it's more "gee whiz" than anything else. That kind of stuff can be made to sound plausible, like in a movie or a presentation of some kind... but practical value...? IMO around none.

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Stephen Hannaway

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:10 pm

Hmm low light situations and for a 360 view of your environment maybe? Not a scientist so I don't know how it would be done... EON's right though, does seem like a LOT of hassle for what a good torch and quick reflexes could compensate for
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Superman

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:24 pm

Now guys let’s be fair. A low light situation affects everyone in it good and bad. If you are able to navigate better than your criminal opponent so much the better. I’d take any edge I can get that turns the odds in my favor.

But if you do have vision rather than go for an entire new system I’d get some night vision devices. Got some for my crew at an Army surplus store. Good place to shop for a hero on a budget that needs gear.

Some are also coming out as new spy tech devices for kids. Tempted to get 1 to see if they are as good as Uncle Sam’s surplus. Of course that’s just me following my policy of multiple sources of supply where possible.

Superman

 
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Flora V. Arbor

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:31 pm

Scared women already know how to do this
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The-Biomatrix

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:46 am

science.slashdot.org/story/09/07/04/2246211/you-too-can-learn-echolocation

(I wasn't able to post an external link hence the lack of http-ing)

That's one article I've seen with some advice on the matter, and I tried the 'shh' noise and moving my hand in front and could notice a difference (that was more than just me blowing on my own hand Razz) so I imagine with practice you could take that further. I've seen a few others around too and I don't know I just find the idea really interesting...

From a practical perspective I imagine it would have limited use for RLSH - I mean if you were ever sneaking around in the dark it would probably be a stealth thing in which case clucking isn't great advice... the main way I thought it could be useful would be for being simply more aware of your surroundings - if you can get an idea of space from your own clicking surely you'd be more attuned to other sounds too and where they are? And if you were could you be more likely to react fractionally quicker to something coming from behind or just outside your peripheral vision?

My friend studied a sound engineering course (who I will be talking to with regard to this) and something he had to do was find tune his hearing to the point where he could tell what direction a noise was coming from when he was surrounded by several people in a circle. Now to me *that* sounds quite handy in a real life context.

I guess my aim is to give it a go and to see exactly how much I can improve my hearing and integrate it with my spacial map - then I can pass on whether it's a big waste of time or something valuable :-)

Superman - Would be really interested to know how good those night vision goggles for kids are! I bought a 'spy ear' designed for kids but it wasn't much use - talking was just as hard to hear but every little rustle and click hurt my brains...

And lol Flora! When I'm scared I tend to hear things that *aren't* there...
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E0N (Inactive)

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:09 am

Developing this would be more generally valuable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprioception



Hard, though.

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Midnight100

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:01 pm

My friend Spirit Beast is very talented at this ability. He developed it as a kid, and he has all his senses. It's quite amazing, with just a couple clicks he can tell where something is in an area that's completely dark. It's a pretty limited ability RLSH wise, but for finding items it can be very useful. I

It's definitely not something with a stealth use because of the clicking sound.
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Flora V. Arbor

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:30 pm

be homeless awhile

you'll get good at it and you won't make mistakes
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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:12 pm

Hold your hand in front of your mouth with your eyes closed, with your motuh rapidly pronounce "shh shh shh shh..." as you slwly move your hand further away you'll hear a difference. Voila, echolocation, completely tech free. Practice it for a while. I've heard people who are blind have had a lot of success with this in getting a sense of their environment. Though I wouldn't rely on it in combat.

In combat, I have heard some martial artists who can sense the others moves, provided the have at least one hand on them. Very fascinating topics indeed. Smile
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Leviathan

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:45 pm

This one's easy actually. I used to to do this often (and sometimes still do)

You have to practice it though, and practice hard.

Turn off the lights in your house (family willing of course) after dusk. Next, close our eyes. After a moment, you'll start to become accustomed to all the usual clicks of wood settling, hums of wires and electronics, mewling of animals both outside and within the house. You almost start to literally develop a "white picture" as I like to call it, with various shades, abstract shapes here and there. You can also use your footsteps as part of this. It doesn't work so well in fully carpeted rooms or those with that dumb-ass spiked stucco wall stuff, as softer surfaces and jagged shapes throw off and distort sound. The fridge in the kitchen when it's running also helps a bit, makes the room vibrate more solidly.

I've also used this in unfamiliar houses as well when I've entered them without the lights on (yes I was an invited guest). So it's not just the familiarity of my own place and my mind drawing a map.

@EON: Yeah,
Proprioception is also part of it. After all, you're not a floating head, but extremities moving in 3D space. Make sure you know where all of you is in relative space before walking in "white-space" or you'll stub your toe.
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Rook

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:06 am

A couple of years ago (I think) when I was more active in the Ninja community, I wrote a very brief layman's piece regarding the value of the periphery in night vision for the Ninja Information Database. Since I retain all rights to my articles, I don't mind reposting it here (it was also eventually buried in a pile of other articles on the site, so I doubt anyone really cares). I'll also have it on my blog, but you folks get first dibs since we seem to be discussing a similar topic. Though not a very long article, I felt it best to put it in a spoiler to save space, simply click to view:

Spoiler:
 
-Rook
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Urban Avenger

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:44 pm

I heard about this boy years ago who lost his eyes to cancer and learned to develop echolocation with tongue clicking. I didn't know he had died of cancer a couple of years ago until I just looked him up on youtube:


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Rook

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:47 pm

Damn....for very personal reasons, it saddens me deeply and scares the hell out of me when someone dies of cancer...particularly a recurrence.

-Rook
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Stephen Hannaway

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:00 pm

This is a taught skill, therea blind guy that is currently running a school/tutoring for it.
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Stephen Hannaway

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:04 pm

but still can't see the use in it for us sighted folk :/
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Dreamscape

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:15 pm

Sound awareness is a much more useful skill. I can determine the distance and weight of anyone just by the sound of their steps, and I can determine how likely they are trained in martial arts by how heavy they carry themselves and how balanced they move.

Sound awareness is just applying physics to what you hear, and an excellent addition to vision, especially at night.
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Stephen Hannaway

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:39 pm

Thats sound awareness, we're talking ecolocation here :/

From what I read it said that they trained their visual cortex to recognize and process the echos from sounds in their environment.

But that's a LOT of effort to go to just to see in the dark. I could build about 10 different gadgets to solve the same problem, and they'd do a better job of it
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Rook

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:51 pm

The Magician wrote:

From what I read it said that they trained their visual cortex to recognize and process the echos from sounds in their environment.

Hrmn....I would love to see the fMRI scans of people using echo and compare those with people like Dreamscape, who have enhanced sound awareness.

I would guess that the dorsal stream of the visual association cortex would light up like a christmas tree in the echo group and the temporal lobe would be the big thing among the sound-aware. If that's the case (and I'm not saying it is without actual data), I wonder what other exercises could be done to stregnthen those connections...

-Rook
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Stephen Hannaway

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:14 pm

Exercises like brain training? Does that stuff work?
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Rook

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:53 am

Yes, depending on what you're trying to do. Language exercises (e.g., crosswords and learning a new language) has been shown, for example, to slow the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's. Relatlonal frame training has been demonstrated to raise IQ's up to 15 points.

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Leviathan

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:55 am

Ok, Brainman.

What do you know about binaural training? I've heard and read some things, but it seems like new age mumbo jumbo. Do you have any knowledge or experience on this?
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E0N (Inactive)

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:45 pm

I tried them. Some of them that basically walk you through a brief sleep cycle seemed good for napping, but I stopped having the time to nap. I didn't feel tremendously brainier after using them for a while.



General Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_beats

More specific brain improvement with binaural beats oriented info in one section of this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainwave_synchronization

Some random free ones you could download and see for yourself what you think: http://www.the-guided-meditation-site.com/free-binaural-beats.html

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Rook

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PostSubject: Re: Echolocation   Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:50 pm

Yes, actually! I deliver a lecture (well, mini-lecture, really) on it in my Physio Psych class.

It's pretty well established that our brainwaves can sync to sound. Shamanic drumming, at certain rhythms, has been known to induce (often called "entrain") alpha wave patterns. Alpha is associated with relaxed wakefulness and is associated with creativity. When you're kind of zoned out on the couch, under the influence of "highway hypnosis" on the road, engaging in light meditation, or laying in bed about to enter stage one sleep, you're probably in an Alpha-state.

Beta is more associated with alert attention.

These are the two that are easiest to entrain.

Now, imagine that we can not only produce that "beat" that entrains for your ear, but smack within the brain.

If you have a musical instrument handy, you might notice that if you play 2 different pitches, there's a bit of a "warble" to the combined sound. What's happening is that the soundwaves of different pitches travel at different speeds and the points where these waves "intersect" cancels out the sound. The more different the two pitches, the faster the "warble," or "beat."

As far back as the late 1930's it was noted that if you play one pitch in one ear, and one pitch in the other ear via stereo headphones, you "hear" the warble. Even though that beat is generated inside your brain, not outside.

Knowing that, by manipulating the different pitches, we can speed up or slow down the beat depending on what brainwave "speed" we want (Beta are rapid, low amplitude brainwaves, while Alpha are slightly slower).

Your asked a very to-the-point question, and I responded with a long discussion that didn't even answer it up to this point. I just wanted to emphasize that there is an actual method to the madness.

Now, to answer your question: Yes, it has been shown to entrain brainwaves, most reliably Alpha and Beta for relatively brief periods of time. It generally takes about 15 minutes of listening to take effect.

-Rook
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