Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bats' echolocation recorded for human exploit

11.05.2010
Bats' remarkable ability to 'see' in the dark uses the echoes from their own calls to decipher the shape of their dark surroundings. This process, known as echolocation, allows bats to perceive their surroundings in great detail, detecting insect prey or identifying threatening predators, and is a skill that engineers are hoping to replicate.

A team of British researchers has worked with six adult Egyptian fruit bats from Tropical World in Leeds to record and recreate their calls. These calls are pairs of 'clicks' from the bats' tongues that they use to fill their surroundings with acoustic energy; the echoes that return allow the bats to form an image of their environment.

New research published today, Tuesday 11 May, in IOP Publishing's Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, describes how engineers and biologists from the Universities of Strathclyde and Leeds worked with the bats to record their double-click echolocation call, and its returning echoes, using a miniature wireless microphone sensor mounted on the bat whilst in flight.

During echolocation, some bats are known to use a natural acoustic gain control. This allows them to emit high-intensity calls without deafening themselves, and then to hear the weak echoes returning from surrounding objects. The researchers replicated this system in electronics to allow the sensor to record both the emitted and reflected echolocation signals, providing an insight into the full echolocation process.

The six bats performed up to sixteen flights each along a flight corridor. Each flight was short - lasting only about three seconds – but, with the bats' clicks only lasting a quarter of a millisecond, a large number of calls were recorded for the scientists to analyse.

Once back into the laboratory, the researchers were able to accurately recreate the echolocation calls using a custom-built ultrasonic loudspeaker. This technique will allow the signals and processes bats use to be applied to human engineering systems such as sonar. Specifically, the researchers are looking to apply these techniques in the positioning of robotic vehicles, used in structural testing applications.

Lead author Simon Whiteley from the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, said, "We aim to understand the echolocation process that bats have evolved over millennia, and employ similar signals and techniques in engineering systems. We are currently looking to apply these methods to positioning of robotic vehicles, which are used for structural testing. This will provide enhanced information on the robots' locations, and hence the location of any structural flaws they may detect."

The article will be available to read from Tuesday 11 May at http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-3190/5/2/026001

Joe Winters | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iop.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>