The real world Batman, Daniel Kish
Daniel Kish (born in 1966) is an American expert in echolocation and the president of the foundation called World Access For The Blind (WAFTB). WAFTB is a non-profit organization based in California which is founded by Kish in 2000 to facilitate “the self-directed achievement of people with all forms of blindness”. Kish and his organization have trained at least 500 blind children all around the world about how to use echolocation to their benefit.
Kish’s eyes had to be removed due to eye cancer when he was 13 months old. So Daniel had to use some other form of sensitivity to learning about the surroundings around him. As a kid, he learned a way to judge the height of a tree while climbing, by making rapid click noises and studying the echo of that sound on the ground. No one taught him the technique, he just developed the ability as if a bat uses sonar to detect insects. He’s known as the real world Batman for this reason. Kish can even ride a bike down the street by using this ability.
Daniel Kish teaches the technique of echolocation – not only to help the blind see but to be free in their environment
Kish is the first blind person to be a legally Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and to hold a National Blindness Professional Certification (NOMC). He also holds master’s degrees in developmental psychology and special education from the University of California Riverside.
Kish’s work has inspired several scientific studies related to human echolocation. In a 2009 study at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, Spain, ten sighted subjects were taught basic navigation skills within a few days. The study aimed to analyze various sounds which can be used to echolocate and evaluate which were most effective. In another study, MRI brain scans were taken of Kish and another echolocation expert to identify the parts of the brain involved in echolocation, with readings suggesting “that brain structures that process visual information in sighted people process echo information in blind echolocation experts.”