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How Are Sound Waves Used by Animals and Humans?

How Are Sound Waves Used by Animals and Humans?



This is a lesson for children about ultrasonic sound and sensors. Animals that use echolocation and SONAR are briefly described as well as human inventions that make use of ultrasonic sensors such as ...

This is a lesson for children about ultrasonic sound and sensors. Animals that use echolocation and SONAR are briefly described as well as human inventions that make use of ultrasonic sensors such as the driverless car.



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  • There are some sounds we cannot hear as humans because the sound waves are either too low pitched (too spaced apart) or too high pitched (too close together) for our ears to receive them.
  • Why do you think this happens? Answer: Light travels much faster than sound
  • Human hearing is 20-20000 Hertz, but many animals can hear sounds beyond that range. Can you name one?
  • University students added lots of sensors to a Ford to try to create a driverless car
  • Ultrasonic sensors are used to measure the position of objects very close to the vehicle, such as curbs and other vehicles when parking
  • Humans cannot see Radio Waves.RADAR is electromagnetic radiation and travels very fast at the speed of light but humans can only see part of this spectrum red to violet.
  • What other inventions use echolocation?

How Are Sound Waves Used by Animals and Humans? How Are Sound Waves Used by Animals and Humans? Presentation Transcript

  • Sound Waves
  • Speed of Light – Speed of Sound • You can see a flash of Lightning almost instantly • But it takes a while before you hear the thunder • You can count to tell how far away it is • Sound takes about 5 seconds to go 1 mile
  • Sound Spectrum http://www.olympus-ims.com/en/ndt-tutorials/flaw-detection/ultrasound/
  • What is SONAR ? SONAR: SOund Navigation And Ranging is the process of listening to specific sounds to determine where objects are located and how far away they are. http://www.exploresound.org/getattachment/Home/Teachers-Parents/Echolocation-Part- 2/EcholocationPt2.pdf.aspx
  • What is Echolocation ? "Echolocation is the use of sound waves and echoes to determine where objects are in space” In other words, echoes help to find the location of an object. http://askabiologist.asu.edu/echolocation
  • How is Echolocation used in animals ?
  • http://askabiologist.asu.edu/sites/default/files/echolocation.jpg • Bats send out sound waves using their mouth or nose. • When the sound hits an object, an echo comes back. • The bat can identify an object by the sound of the echo.
  • Bats using Ultrasound to Catch Prey Click on photo to start video
  • They can even tell the size, shape and texture of a tiny insect from its echo .
  • Blind as a Bat? • Bats can see as well as a human, but echolocation is much more important to them than their eyesight for finding food. • Most bats eat mostly flying insects. • Their Echolocation is so precise that it can detect an object the width of a human hair. • Mother bats who are feeding their babies, may catch and eat up to 4500 insects in one night!
  • Some moths have developed ways to get away or confuse bats, such as: • Furry wings that don't reflect bat echolocation pulses. • Sensitive membranes that can 'hear' echolocation pulses. When the pulses are detected, the moths fly in crazy patterns or fold their wings and dive to confuse their hunters. http://academic.reed.edu/biology/professors/srenn/pages/teaching/web_2007/pf_site/adaptation.html
  • The Tiger Moth
  • The Tiger Moth Can can emit ultrasonic clicks to "jam" a Bat's sonar! This moth produces ultrasound not to communicate, but as a way to protect itself. By producing ultrasound of its own, it is able to ward off bats by acting as a radar jammer, confusing the bats so that the moths cannot be located. By doing this, they add another weapon to their survival mechanisms that also includes poison. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctiidae
  • Philippine Tarsier The tiny Tarsier, only 4 inches long, can communicate in ultrasound. The Tarsier is the only primate known to communicate in this way.
  • The Dolphin uses nasal passages to make a click and sends it through its forehead, which focuses the sounds together into a beam before sending it into the water.
  • • When the sound hits an object in the water, it bounces back to the dolphin as an echo. • The dolphin absorbs this returning echo through its jaw. • A passage of fat from the jaw conducts the sound to the dolphin's inner ear, which exchanges nerve impulses with its brain to interpret the object's characteristics, such as size, shape and material.
  • The crickets, Arachnoscelis, is from the Katydid family. It lives in the tropical rain forests, and can produce the highest-frequency ultrasound of any known insect. These sounds are emitted by the lonely male, which makes its presence known with a burst of intense sounds. Listen to their calls!
  • Arachnoscelis arachnoids, a rare species of katydid from Central Northeast of Colombia, uses elastic energy and wing movement to reach volumes greater than 110 decibels, which is louder than a diesel truck or a subway train. http://www.sci-news.com/biology/science-bushcricket-colombia-01265.html
  • House mice use Ultrasonic sounds to attract mates. Rats and other rodents also use it to communicate.
  • The Huia Cavitympanum is the only known frog species that can communicate using purely ultrasonic calls. This unusual frog lives only in the Philippines. These frogs can hear sounds up to 38 kilohertz, the highest frequency any amphibian species has been known to hear.
  • As you have seen, many animals use SONAR and Echolocation to help them move about in low light, to locate food. They also use Ultrasonic sounds to communicate. From watching animals and through scientific experiments, Humans have learned to use Echolocation, SONAR and RADAR in many different ways.
  • Humans cannot create or hear ultrasound, by themselves, but we can make devices that do this for us. Ultrasonic Echolocation Sensor, only $3.75! How Is Echolocation used by humans?
  • How it works: 1. A chirp is emitted from the “speaker” 2. It bounces off of an object 3. The echo returns to the microphone 4. The time it takes to travel to the object and back is used to figure out the distance
  • Robots
  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2261574/Audi-A6-Our-man-Las- Vegas-highway-road-test-car-drives--parks--itself.html Driverless Cars
  • http://wbbw1.bwbx.io/cms/2012-04-09/0409_GigaOM_car_630x420.jpg
  • http://www.economist.com/node/21560989
  • The car is equipped with radar sensors monitoring up to 820ft ahead, a wide- angle video camera that monitors lane markings, and eight ultrasonic sensors. It can even park itself, squeezing in to within 4in of another car. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2261574/Audi-A6- Our-man-Las-Vegas-highway-road-test-car-drives--parks-- itself.html#ixzz2xT65l5od
  • Driverless cars also use RADAR. RADAR uses Radio waves instead of Sound waves to listen for echoes from objects. Radio waves travel at the speed of light and can be used over long distances. Let’s look at the different sensors on a driverless car
  • http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/techknow/blog/2013/10/24/-techknow-need-toknow6questionsyoushouldaskaboutdriverlesscars.html
  • More features of the Driverless Car!
  • The Tactic Device for the Blind
  • How the Tactic Works
  • • The Tactic can help the blind move around safely. • It is mounted on your wrist and uses ultrasonic sensors set above the knuckles that can pick up the distance of objects from one inch to 10 feet away • It then translates that distance to pressure on the wrist--the closer the object, the more pressure on the wrist. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2011-09-tacit-device-safety-video.html#jCp
  • The Hand Bat
  • • The Hand Bat is a simple Do It Yourself (DIY) device similar to the Tactic • It uses an Arduino Microcomputer, an ultrasonic sensor and a beeper • It is built in a low-cost waterproof flashlight case • When you point it in different directions, it sends out an ultrasonic sound and listens for the echo • It figures out the distance and tells the user how far away an object is with different sounds
  • Ben Underwood was a very special kid. He was blind since the age of 3 when he had to have both eyes removed due to cancer. His mother helped him to believe that he could still do mostly anything he wanted to do even though he could not see. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/jan/27/familyandrelationships.family2 Human Echolocation
  • Ben learned to use clicking sounds and echolocation in the same way in which bats and dolphins use it. Using this method to avoid obstacles, he was able to ride bikes, play basketball and many other activities most blind people are never able to do. Unfortunately, Ben passed away in 2011 when his cancer returned. Learn more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiBeLoB6CKE