Researchers are learning from the flying echolocators to improve undersea sonar and even harvest planning
J. Gaudette, Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Bats, with their superb ability to echolocate, are inspiring advanced technologies — from better Navy sonar to gadgets that might deliver packages or help farmers manage crops. And engineers aren’t waiting for neuroscientists to work out every detail of how the bats’ brains manage the task.
“We think we have enough information to be useful to us, to develop a bio-inspired sensor,” says research engineer Jason Gaudette of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport Division in Rhode Island. Like bats, the Navy uses sonar to find and visualize objects in the deep. But current versions are far less elegant than the flying mammals’ system.