|Japanese scientists have created an underwater speaker that’s capable of playing back the creatures’ entire acoustic range. The next step - see how they respond.|
Dolphins, with many human-like social and sexual traits, are often regarded as one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. The problem is, despite our own vast intelligence, we don’t actually know how intelligent dolphins (or monkeys or pigs or crows for that matter) are because we cannot understand their language. Encoded in those whistles, burst-pulse sounds, and clicks, dolphin language remains a mystery.
Now, Japanese researchers have developed a “dolphin speaker,” which seems to be the first underwater device that is capable of producing the full range of dolphin sounds.
While the human voice generally ranges from 300Hz to 3KHz, and human hearing ranges from 10Hz to 20KHz, dolphins can produce and hear sounds up to 150KHz. Dolphins can also vocalize a number of frequencies simultaneously — the clicks it uses for echolocation are generally an ultra-broadband emission of sound ranging all the way from 1KHz to 150KHz (different objects attenuate different frequencies, so this no doubt gives dolphins a very accurate sense of its surroundings). This dolphin speaker uses four piezoelectric elements (which apparently have never been used underwater before), and one silver element, to reproduce a dolphin’s “voice” almost perfectly.
In theory, the researchers can now head out to the ocean and begin conversing with dolphins — or at least start down the very long path to understanding dolphin communication. At first they will simply record sounds and play them back to see what response they get — but it won’t be long before they cut and splice various clicks and whistles to try and understand the dolphin language.
SOURCE Extreme Tech
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