How scientists are helping blind people see with their ears

Bats, dolphins, and even some whales all use sonar to determine the location of objects around them — by sending out sound waves and listening to how they bounce back. This allows these animals to do all sorts of amazing things, like hunt in total darkness.

And it turns out that humans can use sonar, too (and not just in submarines). Some blind people are capable of using tongue clicks to “see” their surroundings. They make a sharp sound with their tongue and listen carefully to how the sound reflects off the objects around them.

So, more recently, researchers have been trying to push this capability much, much further. New technologies — lasers, cameras, and earphones — can give people even greater sonar capacity. More radically still, some researchers have now developed software that essentially translates the world into music, which can help blind people avoid obstacles, recognize facial expressions, and even read letters.

To read the rest of this article, published in Vox, please click here.