“The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See”

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The Story

“The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See”
by Michael Finkel
Men’s Journal, March 2011

The Pitch

The Incredible (Yet True) Way That (A Few) Blind People Can “See”: Echolocation.

Yes — as in like a bat. I’d like to write a profile of Daniel Kish, who had his eyes removed at the age of 13 months due to retinal cancer and has developed a way to navigate the world by producing an amazing “clicking” sound with his tongue. This click allows him to interpret the resulting echoes and move about. He can even mountain bike! He is the world’s only teacher of echolocation for humans, through the non-profit organization World Access for The Blind.
According to one scientific study of Kish’s ability (published in the journal Acta Acustica), the type of tongue clicks invented by Kish are acoustically ideal — the perfect sound for humans to join bats, dolphins, and whales as the only species known to echolocate. An incredible skill, to say the least.

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