A team of researchers has developed an echolocation system that could enable a person to see using sound.
In the natural world echolocation is used by animals such as bats and dolphins as a way to locate and identify objects around them. Researcher Ivan Dokmanic and his team in Switzerland have been putting this idea to use in a computer-based echolocation system in the hope of using sound to 'see' the layout of a room. The setup uses a series of microphones and a computer that can pick up any sounds and then determine from that what the shape of the room is.
Dokmanic and his team hope that the technology could eventually be used by blind people to help them pick up more information about their surroundings. "I hope not too long - but the realistic horizon is two years to get something that's really usable by everyone," he said.
"Birds do it. Bats do it."
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