THOMAS TAJO teaches echolocation to blind people of any age. In this video Thomas is giving an initial introduction to echolocation and using a cane to 5-year old Victor. It shows how Victor starts exploring his environment first together with Thomas, then more and more on his own. The video includes a comment from his mother about how she felt the workshop contributed to Victor's confidence building at the end.
For more information: linkedin.com/in/thomas-tajo-672353134
WHAT IS ECHOLOCATION?
Echolocation is locating and identifying objects and obstacles in the environment through the interpretation of echos. It is a technique or way of consciously employing the sounds
to gather precise details about the nature and structures of the environment, and therefore detecting and identifying an object or a group of objects present within this environment. There are two forms of echolocations: active echolocation and passive echolocation. Both involve the use of sounds to see the world by forming mental pictures through interpreting the sound signals and echos.
Passive-echolocation is the use of the sounds coming from the environments around you, and using those sounds as cues to recognise a locality and identify your position in a locality. The sound of a church-bell in the village for example can tell you how far you are from the Center of the village, or a constant sound of passing cars tells you that you are approaching a highway etc.
Active echolocation means to actively produce sharp clicking sounds by placing your tongue against the roof of your mouth. The clicking sounds travel from your mouth, hit against the objects in front of you, and bounce back to you in the form of the echos. In hitting against the objects, the clicking sound is modified by the characteristics of the object it encounters. This way, the returned sounds or echos, bring back the following three informations about the object:
In clicking, the sound can tell us how far or how close the object lies from us, and where we are in relation to the object, right, left, or straight in front of us. This way, we can detect objects from a far enough distance to avoid bumping into things. Like this we can also detect distances between parked cars, gaps between standing people, and half-opened or fully-opened doors.
By clicking we can also learn the shape and size of the object. A tall, round object for example as a pillar or tree; or a short, wide waist- or chest-high object, as walls or fences. Clicks can also detect the density of objects, and helps us tell the difference between hard and soft objects. We learn to tell apart a soft cotton pillow for example from a hard steel or ceramic plate, a glass table from a wooden table etc.
Echolocation is not intended to restrict and replace the use of canes and other mobility tools. It is to be used in combination with the cane and other mobility tools as well as technologies to compliment and
supplement the information we receive from the world around us, so as to ensure a freer, safer, and more independent movement of blind people, in both familiar and unfamiliar surroundings.