The modern world is filled with the uncoordinated beeping and buzzing of countless electronic devices. So it was only a matter of time before someone designed an electronic network with the ability to synchronize dozens of tiny buzzers, in much the same way that frogs and cicadas coordinate their night-time choruses.
"Several years ago I was on a camping trip and we pitched our tent in an area that was filled with hundreds of tree frogs," says Kenneth D. Frampton, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University, who dreamed up the project. "The frogs were so loud that I couldnt get to sleep. So I began listening to the chorus and was fascinated by how the pattern of synchronized calling moved around: Frogs in one area would croak all together for a while, then gradually one group would develop a different rhythm and drift off on its own."
Last summers emergence of cicada brood X brought back that memory and prompted Frampton to assign undergraduates Efosa Ojomo and Praveen Mudindi--working under the supervision of graduate student Isaac Amundson--with the task of simulating this complex natural behavior using a wireless distributed sensor network. They presented the results of their project on Nov. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Acoustical Society in San Diego.
David F. Salisbury | EurekAlert!
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