This article from People Magazine is over a year old, but a blog I frequent just posted a link to it, so I read it for the first time tonight. It’s a truly amazing story of a boy who uses echolocation, the same technique that bats and dolphins use, to “see”:
Completely blind since the age of 3, after retinal cancer claimed both his eyes (he now wears two prostheses), Ben has learned to perceive and locate objects by making a steady stream of sounds with his tongue, then listening for the echoes as they bounce off the surfaces around him. About as loud as the snapping of fingers, Ben’s clicks tell him what’s ahead: the echoes they produce can be soft (indicating metals), dense (wood) or sharp (glass). Judging by how loud or faint they are, Ben has learned to gauge distances.
On a side note, if I didn’t see his mother’s name printed in such a highly respected journal, I’d think it was just another urban legend: Aquanetta. If I recall correctly, my mom used to spray that stuff in her hair.