We may not all have pointy ears and sharp teeth, but Spanish scientists are convinced that inside every human lurks the best bat-power: echolocation, or navigating by sound. And they're determined to show us all how to unlock it!
Juan Antonio Martínez and a team of researchers at the University of Alcalá de Henares taught a group of volunteers (and themselves) to make palate clicks similar to those used by dolphins — although at a much slower rate. The series of protocols they developed then called for subjects to learn to aim their own sounds, and then to recognize their echos to identify objects around them.
The scientists promise, though, that you don't need to be blind (like famous echolocaters Daniel Kish and Ben Underwood) to awaken your latent echolocation skills. Martínez tells SINC:
Two hours per day for a couple of weeks are enough to distinguish whether you have an object in front of you, and within another two weeks you can tell the difference between trees and a pavement.
In fact, the scientists who taught themselves echolocation can now detect far more than just the terrain ahead of them: they can identify bones and even objects hidden in a bag.
They hope that their techniques can be put to use in the future by firefighters, rescue workers, people lost in fog or those lost in bat-filled caves in West Virginia.
Spanish scientists develop echo-location in humans [EurekAlert]
[Image via Weekly World News]