Yesterday we kick started our week of badasses that you should really know with the ultra talented gymnast Evgenia Kanaeva. Today we introduce Ben Underwood: the blind boy who sees without eyes.
Ben Underwood was a badass before he hit double figures. He was blind from the age of 3 and received very little special treatment. Ben lived a very ‘normal’ life, Basketball, rollerblading, video games. Yeah that’s right, he could play video games. Unfortunately Ben passed away in 2009 when the cancer that took his eyes returned and took his life.
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Ben lost both his eyes completely due to cancer when he was 3 years old. His amazing mother Aquanetta told him he could still see with his hands, his ears and other senses. Before long he started making clicking sounds and visualising objects around him by listening to the sound as bounces back. He was a completely self taught echo locator. He got so good at it he didn’t even consider himself blind and refused to use a cane. Ever. His attitude, independence and perseverance was unbelievable.
Human echolocation is an ability of humans to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes from those objects. By actively creating sounds — for example, by tapping their canes, lightly stomping their foot or making clicking noises with their mouths — people trained to orientate with echolocation can interpret the sound waves reflected by nearby objects, accurately identifying their location and size. This ability is used by some blind people for acoustic wayfinding, or navigating within their environment using auditory rather than visual cues. It is similar in principle to active sonar and to the animal echolocation employed by some animals, including bats, dolphins and toothed whales.
Here’s a documentary we recommend you check out to learn more about Ben Underwood, the boy who sees without eyes.
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