You Won’t Believe {My} Eyes

It’s true: this clip has everything—a blind kid with bionic eyes, banana bikes and roller blades.  All that, plus a whole world of visual freedom that ‘s usually denied the optically-challenged…and the ultra-advanced concept of navigating sonically by emitting bat-like clicking sounds, and then listening for the return echoes that perfectly describe the shape and distance of reflecting walls.

The young man in this video was quite a celebrity ten years ago when he pioneered several of the world’s most sophisticated new techniques for living productively with a severe blind disability. In the end, the cancer that originally blinded him returned and killed him.Of course, if you or a family member have ever been stricken with cancer, you already know that the Big C is a persistant cuss with an uncanny knack for survival. In contrast, human beings like Ben have an uncanny knack for mostly outliving their cancers until they and God can agree that it’s finally time to die. For Ben, that was age 16…after a short but dramatically successful life of cheating his disability and proving the basic human urge to Live Well and Transcend Momentary Obstacles will get you up just about any tree not even a banana bike can climb. Bravo, Ben! Here’s hoping you can see the streets of Heaven, and that they shine a peaceful, golden light.

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 06/12/13 at 06:34 PM • Permalink

Categories: Geek SpeakI Don't Know Much About Art, But I Know What I LikeMessylaneousRumproast RelatedStrangeAppar8us

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I heard an interview with this guy recently

Comment by acrannymint on 06/12/13 at 07:10 PM

Truly a remarkable young man.  I wonder if his “echolocation” was processed by the visual cortex of his brain… the brain has an incredible plasticity, especially among the young.

BBBB, apparently, that’s exactly what happens: this guy, Daniel Kish, is an advanced practitioner and advocate for echolocation (in the article I linked, he says to the writer who’s just emerged from his car to visit him, “You’re going to leave it parked that way?”)

Neurological studies found that blind people’s hearing does not in fact become more acute, unless echoes are involved. Their visual cortex is redeployed to interpret echoes, so they do better on tests than sighted control subjects.

I hope Strange will be able to add echolocation to his prodigious bag o’ tricks, even if he doesn’t utilize it to hop on his banana bike.

Just call me “Madame Blavatsky”—because, no, I don’t echolocate. In fact, life for me has become a 20 hour-a-day seance at cold desks in chilly rooms, conversing with the disembodied spirits of teachers, administrators and other wandering souls who claim to be as blind as me. The only thing I’m missing is intermittent table taps, horn flourishes, tambourine drum rolls, and the bloodcurdling punctuation of sad moans and jibberish confession. In most ways I have become the #1 champion medium at a Death Club for people who don’t ask much from the dear departed.

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