STATES CHRONICLE – The world is an amazing place. And not from a single point of view, either. The amount of stuff by which we can be astonished is, well, astonishing. For example, just yesterday, scientists 3-D printed a dolphin’s sonar image of a human.
Yes, you read that right. Scientists managed to 3-D print the audio representation of a human captured by a dolphin’s sonar. So, basically, we managed to capture sound in a physical form.
Echolocation is what animals like dolphins and bats use in order to get a more accurate representation of the environment. High pitch noises are emitted by the animals, which then travel through the environment and bounce back when they hit an object. This gives the animals a very accurate depiction of what they have around them.
We all heard those clicks dolphins make when they come out of the water. Well, those clicks are also present underneath the surface. And each of them sends back a still image, similar to a camera. Each of those clicks is a pulse of sound, affected by the object from which it returns.
The combined team of researchers from the US and UK used a device called “CymaScope” to record the sonar waves emitted by a dolphin towards certain objects. From these sounds, they created 2-D images, and then 3-D visuals. Thus, the first 3-D image of a dolphin’s echolocation was printed.
Some of the objects the dolphin and the CymaScope scanned were a flower pot, a plus sign, and a cube. Oh, yes. And a human being.
This is not only the first time we print a human being as it is perceived by a dolphin, but also the first time we actually have an idea of how dolphins and other animals that use echolocation see the world.
It is an important achievement for mankind, as this is the first experiment of its type. It not only opens new areas of research due to the new technology, but also due to our better understanding of the aquatic sea mammals.
If we can now see what a dolphin sees when using its echolocation, maybe we can find out more about other sea creatures. Perhaps we can even use the animals to explore the harder to reach parts of the ocean. The applications are only limited by our imagination.
Image source: Wikimedia