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Ask Larry Rosenblum Your Questions

ByTom MillerThe Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

Click here for Larry’s profile.

If you ask Larry Rosenblum a question, he might pull a quarter out of your ear.

No guarantees, but what do you have to lose?

Q: Matthew

How long does it take for a sighted-person to learn echolocation (assuming they’d be blindfolded)?

A: Larry Rosenblum

Thanks for your question, Mark. It takes our sighted subjects about 10 minutes of practice to echolocate well enough to walk to a wall and stop just before they contact it. The wall is placed at random locations, and subjects are given performance feedback after every try. To perform more sophisticated echolocation such as determine the size and shape of an object, it seems to take a number of days of practice. To bike ride like Daniel Kish and his friends, it probably takes many months.