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.
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 SpeakDolphin.com. “Nearly every experiment is bringing us more images with more detail.”