Acoustics: Seeing with Sound

To the human submariner, the built-in sonar system of the porpoise is an object of particular envy. How does a series of clicks and squeaks enable the graceful swimmer to "see" so well through the murkiest water? Scientists from the Lockheed-California Co. are still searching for the answer. But their research is already pointing toward an extra, nonaquatic dividend—a practical aid for blind people walking on land.

Pulsed Beam. Working in an all but echoless 10-ft. by 13-ft. room lined with sound-absorbing wedges of glass fiber, Lockheed's scientists have set up a sort of searchlight with a sound generator in...

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