Ever since the dawn of creation, bats have been using their voices to “see” in the dark. This is called echolocation. In fact, the use of sound to see is used by other animals, but is mainly constrained to the flying or swimming world. However, with new knowledge the world of echolocation has entered a new category entirely: humans.

ben-profile-transpActually, humans have been using echolocation for quite awhile. The best and most famous example would be Ben Underwood who had been blind since very early childhood. Underwood would play games, climb trees, ride bike, skate and just about anything else not to long after he became blind.

This astonished doctors. How could this boy see when he was completely blind? This genius of a boy used echolocation to guide himself.

In fact, the boy was so good that his child eye doctor said he was the best human echolocator there ever was. Truly this boy had skills. Unfortunately, Underwood died in the beginning of 2009. His mother said this about this incredible boy:

One thing that I truly get back from Ben being blind is that he truly sees people from within. When he hears someone say that someone else is ugly, or anything negative towards someone else. He says, “That’s what’s wrong with sighted people, you all look at one another and judge what you look like,” I see that statement being so true. The most powerful part of it is that he can’t judge from looks, only from spirit. This world would be a much better place if we all couldn’t see.

This was also said about his death:

Ben Underwood went to be with our Lord and Savior early in the morning, on January 19th, 2009. He was praising Jesus until the very last minute, and he had no fear of what was going to happen. He knew that God was preparing to bring him home.

The boy was just 16 and died from the very same cancer that took his eyesight some 14 years prior. However, his influence in the world of echolocation still lives on and the new leading expert in the area, Tim Johnson (although he isn’t blind he is an expert on this skill), claims Underwood as his initial inspiration. Nowadays, Johnson teaches echolocation to the blind and sighted alike.

Thanks to Ben Underwood, those who are blind have a chance at “seeing” again or for the first time. Truly this boy is a great inspiration for those who wish to learn the skill and see where eyes cannot.

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