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The Boy Who Sees with Sound
Posted: 19 July 2006 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]
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“Blind since age 3, Ben Underwood skateboards, shoots hoops and plays video games. How does he do it? Just like bats and dolphins”

http://people.aol.com/people/article/0,26334,1212568,00.html

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The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
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Posted: 19 July 2006 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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That’s fascinating.

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“Herbal medicine’s been around for thousands of years! Indeed it has. And then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became medicine. And the rest of it’s just a nice bowl of soup and some pot pourri.” - Dara O’Briain

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Posted: 19 July 2006 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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One of the morning TV shows had a piece about him this morning. I felt guilty, because my first thought was hoax! I’m going to keep an eye on this one because it’s either a hoax or darn-near a miracle.

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Posted: 19 July 2006 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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How does he play video games? Video games are on a flat tv screen, so there’s nothing to bounce back from.

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Posted: 19 July 2006 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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In the article, it says:

He excels at PlayStation games by memorizing the sounds that characters and movements make.

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2-15-15 9-19 1 19-16-15-18-11 7-15-4-4-5-19-19 15-6 13-9-7-8-20
Turnip Boris Yeltsin frog juggling doormat termite lizard

“Herbal medicine’s been around for thousands of years! Indeed it has. And then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became medicine. And the rest of it’s just a nice bowl of soup and some pot pourri.” - Dara O’Briain

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Posted: 19 July 2006 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Ehhh. I’m definitely not buying it. Skateboarding, maaaaybe. But not video games.

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Posted: 19 July 2006 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I dunno, for some reason I immediately thought of Tomb Raider, and it sort of made sense.
But I totally understand your suspicions.

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“Herbal medicine’s been around for thousands of years! Indeed it has. And then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became medicine. And the rest of it’s just a nice bowl of soup and some pot pourri.” - Dara O’Briain

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Posted: 19 July 2006 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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If it’s not a hoax, it’s really interesting. I’d like to hear more about this.

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Posted: 19 July 2006 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I read this two days ago (come on Iri step it up!) it really is rather amazing. But it must be pretty weird having to make clicking noises every time you move

hey if bats can do it, why can’t he?

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Posted: 19 July 2006 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Hijack: Blood, dear, you read this two days ago (and didn’t post it) and Iri lives in the UK. wink

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Turnip Boris Yeltsin frog juggling doormat termite lizard

“Herbal medicine’s been around for thousands of years! Indeed it has. And then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became medicine. And the rest of it’s just a nice bowl of soup and some pot pourri.” - Dara O’Briain

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Posted: 20 July 2006 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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There is video of Ben at http://cbs13.com/seenon/local_story_200194835.html

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The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
Oscar Wilde

http://www.destinedtofall.co.uk

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Posted: 20 July 2006 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Sounds a bit exaggerated.

1) Many people (both blind and seeing) have a very good spatial memory. They just need to walk one route through any environment and they know the lay-out of the entire place. You don’t really need echo-location for that.

2) There was even this one blind guy who played ‘Mortal Combat’ on a console just by learning all sounds of the combo’s. But I doubt one can do this with a 3d adventure game, except perhaps the newer ones with good environmental programming.

3) It’s not that extraordinary for a blind person (blind because of bad eyes, not other kinds of damage), with good hearing and a sense of balance, to learn to locate object and people. One of my highschool teachers told me he had guided one for a while who could “hear his way”, even around an obstacle.
It might be a bit like sonar, but I really doubt your own voice or tongue has sufficient power for anything further away than an arms length, without deafening yourself.

For any blind person to be able to do all these things is indeed exceptional but still probable, so not a hoax, the focus on ‘animal-like’ echo-location just makes a ‘better’ news story.

But echo-location is used these days, I think they sell sonar-canes or portable sonar or something.

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