Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bat-bot boosts sonar research

22.08.2005


A robotic bat head that can emit and detect ultrasound in the band of frequencies used by the world’s bats will give echolocation research a huge boost.



The Bat-Bot, developed by IST project CIRCE, can also wriggle its ears, a technique often used by bats to modulate the characteristics of the echo.

CIRCE developed the Bat-Bot to closely mimic the amazing echolocation skills of bats and to act as a tool for further research in echolocation.


"Sonar in water is a mature field, but sonar in air is far less advanced," says Dr Herbert Peremans, who is head of the Active Perception Lab the University of Antwerp and CIRCE coordinator.

"Whenever a robot team wants to build an autonomous robot they look at sonar first, but they quickly run into problems due to the simple nature of commercial sonar systems, and switch to vision or laser-ranging. We hope that the research we can now do with the robotic bat will lead to more sophisticated sonar systems being used for robot navigation and other applications," he says.

One of those potential applications could be identifying plants using echolocation. During development of the Bat-Bot CIRCE research validated that different plants give off unique echo signatures.

"We tested several plant species and they could all be reliably identified by echolocation, proving that in principle the technique could work for plant identification. But further research into the technique is needed," says Peremans.

While building the robotic head was the primary aim of CIRCE, the group generated many useful results along the way. One project partner developed a broadband transducer that could both convert acoustical energy to electrical energy and electrical to acoustical across the 20 to 200 kHz spectrum.

"There are about 700 echolocating bat species, and they use a wide range of frequencies. We needed a single device that could handle that entire range. The transducer developed by one of the partners can do that and has some additional advantages making it a promising technology for further commercialisation," he says.

The project also completed CT scans on about 20 bat species, demonstrating that the ear shape of bats varies enormously, and heavily influences their performance. This knowledge could also be used to enhance the performance of existing sonar systems.

"We’re the first to build a high resolution computer model of bat ears, which act as antennae. It’s a result we’re very proud of and so we’ve manufactured a series of simplified nylon ears (rapid prototyping tool) which we can now begin to characterise by investigating how their shape influences their sound reception," says Peremans.

The Bat-Bot will now feature in a number of new research projects, such as the EU project CILIA, due to start in September, which will examine how sets of tiny hairs on insects, fish and in the cochlea of mammals like bats and humans can be used to extract information on the organism’s environment.

"We’re interested in further exploring active sonar sensing with the device, and we hope that other researchers and teams will get in touch with us to collaborate on new projects," says Peremans.

It’s impossible to guess at what potential results the Bat-Bot might generate, but CIRCE’s work with plants and bat ear design demonstrate that sonar in air has potentially many applications, not least in the development of functional sonar navigation for robots.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Saving coral reefs depends more on protecting fish than safeguarding locations
03.09.2015 | Wildlife Conservation Society

nachricht Seabird SOS
01.09.2015 | University of California - Santa Barbara

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Hubble survey unlocks clues to star birth in neighboring galaxy

In a survey of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope images of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighboring Andromeda galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass.

By nailing down what percentage of stars have a particular mass within a cluster, or the Initial Mass Function (IMF), scientists can better interpret the light...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact Inverter for Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Silicon Carbide Components Enable Efficiency of 98.7 percent

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed a highly compact and efficient inverter for use in uninterruptible power...

Im Focus: How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists. The study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed.

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from...

Im Focus: An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.

Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...

Im Focus: Increasingly severe disturbances weaken world's temperate forests

Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.

"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Together - Work - Experience

03.09.2015 | Event News

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists

20.08.2015 | Event News

Scientists meet in Münster for the world’s largest Chitin und Chitosan Conference

20.08.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ion implanted, co-annealed, screen-printed 21% efficient n-PERT solar cells with a bifaciality >97%

04.09.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Casting of SiSiC: new perspectives for chemical and plant engineering

04.09.2015 | Machine Engineering

Extremely thin ceramic components made possible by extrusion

04.09.2015 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>