Using sonar software, boffins learn to think like a bat

25th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

The team at the University of Tuebingen, Germany reports that ultrasound is amazingly easy to use to identify various plant types.

Tuebingen, Germany -- Scientists toying with sonar software have taught themselves to think like bats, discovering that it is quite easy to recognize types of trees in pitch-black night.

The team led by Yossi Yovel at the University of Tuebingen, Germany reports that ultrasound is amazingly easy to use to identify various plant types. Bats navigate by listening to the echoes from their very high-pitched squeaks.

The science report, published Friday in Computational Biology, an online journal that is part of the Public Library of Science (PLoS), said the bats' technique was far less complicated than first thought.

Scientists had supposed that plants would have complex sonar signatures because of all their leaves.

But the computer only needed to concentrate on the return time and the frequency of the echo to accurately identify five different types of plant tested. Yovel said the return time showed how far away it was and the frequency showed the leaf's qualities.

"You can for example easily recognize if they are small or big leaves," Yovel said. The echo also indicated leaf shape.

The scientists' new software worked just like the brain of a bat and made the little flying mammals easier to understand.

Internet: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000032

DPA with Expatica

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