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, snapping their fingers, 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 animal echolocation, which is employed by various groups including bats, dolphins and toothed whales.

Ben Underwood - One of the most proficient echolocators.

Diagnosed with retinal cancer at the age of two, American Ben Underwood had his eyes removed at the age of three.

He was taught echolocation at the age of five from Daniel Kish as one of his students. He was able to detect the location of objects by making frequent clicking noises with his tongue. This case was explained in 20/20:medical mysteries. He used it to accomplish such feats as running, playing basketball, riding a bicycle, rollerblading, playing football, and skateboarding. Ben's child eye doctor claimed that Underwood was one of the most proficient human echolocators.


Underwood died on January 19, 2009 at the age of 16, from the same cancer that took his vision.


The Polish film director Andrzej Jakimowski met Ben and was inspired by him. In 2012 he released his film "Imagine" about Ian, a spatial orientation instructor, arrives at a world-renowned Lisbon clinic for the visually impaired to work with blind patients. The doctor in charge of the clinic hires Ian on condition that the patients won’t be exposed to danger as they learn to move around by themselves using echo location methods he teaches.

The Boy who sees without eyes

Documentary about Ben on Youtube.


World's 10 Humans with Real Super Powers.

Ben is listed as the number 2 human with superpowers.

Ben and Aquanetta sharing testimony at New Hope Oahu.
Ben and mom visit New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"Imagine" Film Trailer

Inspired by Ben Underwood.