Researchers have created world's first 3D prints by recording dolphin's echolocation
For the first time, researchers have recorded a dolphin’s echolocation and converted it into a visual representation, reflecting what the animal actually sees. In other words, the image has made us look the world through the eyes of a dolphin.
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Echolocation is a sensory system in animals like bat and dolphins, in which high pitched sounds are emitted and used for determining the direction and distance of the objects. Researchers from US and UK used a device called ‘CymaScope’ to record dolphin’s echolocation sounds directed towards specific objects and created two-dimensional images from those sounds. Then, the images were turned them into 3D visuals. The world’s first 3D image being released was of a submerged male diver as seen with dolphin’s echolocation.
“When a dolphin scans an object with its high frequency sound beam, each short click captures a still image, similar to a camera taking photographs,” said John Stuart Reid, inventor of the device CymaScope. “Each dolphin click is a pulse of pure sound that becomes modulated by the shape of the object.”
CymaScope made it possible to record and isolate data as dolphin was echolocating on various objects including a flowerpot, a cube, a ‘+’ symbol and a human being.
Using 3D Systems, blur images were transformed into fairly detailed and more accurate 3D prints.
“We were thrilled by the first successful print of a cube by the brilliant team at 3D Systems,”said research team leader Jack Kassewitz. “But seeing the 3D print of human being left us all speechless. For the first time ever, we may be holding in our hands a glimpse into what cetaceans see with sounds. Nearly every experiment is bringing us more images with more details.”
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Next, the researchers will try to find out how dolphins use sono-pictorial, a language of pictures which they share with each other.