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back to article Spanish boffins develop bat-like sonar-vision superpower

A team of Spanish boffins say they have developed a method of giving humans the power of echolocation or "biosonar" - used by bats for flying at night, and of course by the superhero Daredevil. "In certain circumstances, we humans could rival bats in our echolocation or biosonar capacity", says Juan Antonio Martínez of the …

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Silver badge

Slight Problem

"..detailed resolution using this method could even rival that of sight itself" -

So, by detecting energy with a wavelength measured in cm, you can get better spatial resolution than by detecting energy with a wavelength of nm. .....

After I read that, I couldn't take it seriously.

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Silver badge

Great news for airport security

> According to UAH, their echolocators can now detect "certain objects inside a bag" or even the bones within a person standing in front of them.

So we can dump all this nasty old X-Ray equipment and intrusive millimetre-wave gizmos that can (apparently) see through your clothes. All we need to do is to teach the plastic piggies who man the security barriers how to click their tongues properly.

Personally, I don't buy it. this sounds like a complete exaggeration of what might, at best, be a rather limited party trick. As it is, you can detect things like your hand, right in front of your face just by noticing the difference in ambient noise reflections (try it: "passive" echolocation) - or even just by looking at them! I can't help thinking that if this was such an awesome power, humanity would have evolved, or developed it, millenia ago. Maybe the reason we didn't is that we no longer go flying through the skies at dusk, trying to catch insects on the wing.

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Headmaster

See through walls?

"The boffins believe that in future their subjects will be able to "see" through fog or smoke - and even some distance into solid walls, floors or ceilings."

It'll be interesting to see how they do this given that bats don't like flying in fog or rain 'cus it screws up their echo locating. AFAIK bats don't see through solid objects either. And don't try using bats (or humans) to echo locate a F-117... http://www.batbox.org/sonar.html

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FAIL

There's on object in front of you...

"Two hours per day [of clicking practice] for a couple of weeks are enough to distinguish whether you have an object in front of you,..."

I don't like to pooh-pooh the efforts of researchers, but, honestly, when was the last time you found yourslf without an object in front of you? This aspect of the research seems pretty fail safe to me - to the point of stating the bleeding obvious: "Yep, there's an obect in front of me..."

And how long are you going to last, I wonder, if you wander around any of the platforms on the London Underground making clicking noises - irrespective of whether or not you are a Brasilian electrician? btw it might be interesting to speculate which tube line would guaranntee a Darwin award the soonest....

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FAIL

Check your facts, guys

This is not something new. Some blind people have been doing this for the last 220 years or so:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_echolocation

Cheers

Peter

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Black Helicopters

Um...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLziFMF4DHA&feature=related

Maybe it's all a hoax?

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FAIL

Only three year old news...

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1212568,00.html

Ben Underwood - The Boy Who Sees with Sound.

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Go

Tomorrow's World

Does nobody remember the 'blind guy riding a bicycle using an echolocation gadget' feature on Tomorrow's World?

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Thumb Up

Very real - was on UK tv - man v dolphin

This was shown recently in the UK on TV, man vs dolphin. The blind man was incredibly accurate, able to give a very good descrition of an objects shape and distance. An incredible man and very real.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Ho hum...

Nothing new here.

Maybe they should have researched 'facial vision'. That is a blind man being able to 'see' an object in front of his face/body by sensing it.

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Been doing it for years myself...

Toilet was at other end of house when I was a child and I found that I could detect furniture ( which got moved ) by clicking my fingers quietly. Had no street lights, night lights, pilot lights or whatever so on cloudy nights the house was like the inside of the proverbial dark cow.

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Happy

Move along

Nothing to see.

No, really. Nothing to see.

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RE: The Original Ash

Indeed your right (as i am sure you know)

I saw a documentry on that kid a year or 2 ago, quite amazing.

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Silver badge
Coat

Hmmm

"Two hours per day [of clicking practice] for a couple of weeks are enough to distinguish whether you have an object in front of you"

But long before then you'll be taken away to a nice soft room where all the coats have extra-long sleeves.

Mine's the one with the extra-long sleeves - thanks.

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Pint

Incorrect text...

You said:

"...the power of echolocation or "biosonar" - used by bats for flying at night, and of course by the superhero Daredevil."

It should have said:

"...the power of echolocation or "biosonar" - used by bats for flying at night, and of course by the superhero Batfink."

Your bullets cannot harm me! My wings are like a shield of steel!

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Bronze badge
Pint

And when I master this echo-location thing...

... will I be awarded a pair of leathery wings?

I could find a pint in the dark with this kit!

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Coat

the spaniards

have obviously invented something, but this story is just a smokescreen. It's too hot...

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WTF?

I would love to have beena fly on the wall for the grant funding meeting

So you'd like to fund you to find out if people can teach people to use echolocation to see if detect a pen in front of their lips... riiiiiiight what the hell, its a slow week here's a couple of hundred thousand euros, don't blow it all on acid.

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