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Bat-like tool produces images of sounds via echolocation

Scientists in Scotland have developed a tool to equip objects such as smartphones and laptops with a bat-like feel for their environment.

A machine learning algorithm developed by experts at the University of Glasgow can measure echoes and sounds to generate images and create the shape, size and layout of the immediate environment.

Bats, which navigate and find their prey using echolocation, inspired the development of the tool. They produce sound waves at frequencies above human hearing called ultrasound.

The sounds emitted bounce off nearby objects and then return to the bat’s ears, which are fine-tuned to recognize their own unique calls.

“Echolocation in animals is a remarkable skill, and science has created the ability to generate three-dimensional images of reflected echoes, such as radar and lidar, in a variety of ways,” said Dr. Alex Turpin, of the School of Computing Science and School of Physics. and astronomy.

He added, “What sets this research apart from other systems is that, firstly, it requires data from just a single input – the microphone or the antenna – to create three-dimensional images.

Second, we believe that the algorithm we developed can turn any device with one of these parts into an echolocation device. “

Echolocation machine design developed by the researchers at the University of Glasgow.

According to the researchers, the tool could help keep buildings burglar-resistant without the need for traditional CCTV, track the movements of vulnerable patients in nursing homes, and even track the rise and fall of a patient’s chest to alert health workers of changes in health care. breathing.

 “That means that the cost of this type of 3D imaging can be significantly reduced, opening up many new applications,” added Turpin.

“It is clear that there are many opportunities here to discover the world in new ways, and we would like to continue to explore the possibilities of generating more high-resolution images in the future.

” The study, “3D imaging from multipath temporal echoes,” was published in the journal Physical Review Letters, led by Dr. Alex Turpin and Dr. Valentin Kapitany at the University of Glasgow.