December 8, 2015 12:32 pm

Scientists capture image of what dolphins ‘see’ with echolocation

Researchers have captured the first image "seen" by dolphins using echolocation.

Researchers have captured the first image of what dolphins see using echolocation.

Dolphins can see, but they also have a unique ability to distinguish various objects under water by using echolocation. They do this using a series of clicks which bounce off the object, giving them a sense of where the object is and its general shape.

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The researchers at SpeakDolphin created the image of what a dolphin sees using this method. Getting the image, a ghostly shape of a human, was a process that involved a few steps.

“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 Reid, the inventor of the technology used, called CymaScope. “Each dolphin click is a pulse of pure sound that becomes modulated by the shape of the object.”

The researchers used recordings of these clicks, which were then used to create two-dimensional images. From there, they used 3D Systems’ program to create a three-dimensional image.

“But seeing the 3D print of a human being left us all speechless,” said Jack Kassewitz, the lead researcher and founder of “Nearly every experiment is bringing us more images with more detail.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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