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Researcher Uses Bat-Inspired Design to Develop Approach to Sound Location

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The synthetic ear, inspired by the workings of a bats ear.

Rolf Mueller, a professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), worked with former Ph.D. student Xiaoyan Yin to create bio-inspired technology that determines the location of a sounds origin.

Credit: Virginia Tech Daily

Inspired by bats' ears, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)'s Rolf Mueller and colleagues have developed a new technique for identifying the point of origin of a sound.

The Virginia Tech researchers created a soft synthetic ear inspired by horseshoe and Old-World leaf-nosed bats, and affixed it to a string and a motor timed to make the ear flutter when receiving an incoming sound.

A deep neural network was trained to interpret the incoming signals and provide the source direction associated with each received audio input.

Mueller said, "Our hope is to bring reliable and capable autonomy to complex outdoor environments, including precision agriculture and forestry; environmental surveillance, such as biodiversity monitoring; as well as defense and security-related applications."

From Virginia Tech Daily
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