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BAT 'K' Sonar Cane

Barb Dybwad
April 7, 2005
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So, we wondered why this echolocating cane for the blind wasn't called the "bat cane" — turns out there's a company in New Zealand who knows what's up (so much so that their actual company name is BAT). The difference is that whereas the UltraCane transmits its echolocation data to a tactile stimulation you feel with your hands, the BAT 'K' Sonar Cane makes the echolocation auditory. The 'K' Sonar unit actually fits onto a standard cane, and radiates ultrasonic waves to isonify objects in the path of a blind walker. The reflections or echoes from the objects return to the sonar unit and converted electronically into a unique sound-based "image" of the landscape that gets transmitted to a set of headphones worn by the blind traveler. Again, not exactly a cheap unit — about $640 USD plus another $80 for shipping from New Zealand. Peep the video, in which the same technology behind the 'K' Sonar unit is used to help a blind boy hit a baseball via echolocation.

Video: Echolocation baseball [MPG]

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