Parsa Studies How Bats Use
High-Frequency Sounds to Adapt to Environments
Vijay and other
London researchers may soon learn how loud a bat has to screech in a
sound-dampened room before it stops bouncing off walls.
The purpose of the bat experiment
isn't to get the nocturnal creature to fly into the padded walls of a
sound-absorbing room but rather to see if they emit louder and different
sounds to adapt to their environment. Bats emit high-frequency sounds
that are two and a half times higher than the upper limits of human hearing.
Those sounds reflect off objects, enabling bats to avoid obstacles and hunt
frequencies have made it hard to measure how bats change the volume of their
sound but Vijay is working on technology that could change that. The
technology will allow Vijay to display sounds and signals digitally, a tool
that will have many applications, both for bat research and for
sophisticated measuring equipment.
Vijay hopes to use
the technology to create hand-held medical devices - for example, a small
electrocardiogram machine to record the electrical activity of the heart -
that until now have been housed in bulky equipment that's not easily moved.